First Lutheran seeks out churches to assist in donation program
A Beaver Dam church is working at bringing a new program to area residents in need of personal care items by supplying them to area food pantries.
First Lutheran Church’s social concerns committee recently received a $3,000 ELCA domestic hunger grant this year, which will be used to start the personal essential pantry. However, it is the area churches that Deb Parman said will bring the biggest support to the new program.
“In order to become sustainable, we need contributions from many churches and service organizations,” Parman said.
Parman, who wrote the grant, said Beaver Dam’s two local food pantries will be supplying the personal care items, such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and tissue paper.
“It’s nice to be able to take one necessity off the table of those struggling financially,” Parman said. “All it takes is adding another shampoo in your cart when you pick up one and bringing it in to church with you.”
Parman had a long career in Beaver Dam Unified School District, working both as a teacher and in administration, so she saw a connection between how students learn and how they feel when they come to school.
“If kids don’t feel good, then they lose self-confidence,” Parman said, “And we know that self-confidence plays a part in doing well in school.”
The supplies are for anyone in need, and many of the people who will be helped are already being serviced by the food pantries, Parman said.
Currently there are 50 families being helped out with the supplies, but Parman said they know that there is greater need in the area.
Beaver Dam Community Food Pantry, in connection with the Central Wisconsin Community Action Coalition, will be receiving applications for those whose last name begins with A through L, and Dodge County Food Pantry of St. Vincent will receive applications for those whose last name begins with M through Z.
Parman said they are seeking out other churches to help with the efforts. Four area churches have agreed to assist so far, with St. Katharine Drexel completing the first drive.
“It’s the hope of the grant to get a minimum of 12 churches in Dodge County to become part of the consortium to ensure the continuation of the project after the grant runs out,” Parman said. “We are hoping to put a call out to any church or service organization that would like to get on board with the program. We want to grow this program to help our families in need.”
Each month, a church will ask parishioners to bring in personal care items. Parman said First Lutheran itself will be doing this in January. The items from other churches will be brought to First Lutheran, where they will be inventoried and stored. The food pantries will tell which items are needed each month. Bright Futures from Wisconsin will assist with the program by packing up the monthly supplies and delivering to the food pantries.
“Churches are bigger than the walls,” Parman said. “Its boundaries are endless. It’s about helping the community and helping all people.”
Parman said she has sent out letters to churches in Dodge County and is hoping for a response from those churches or others who would want to help out.
“If we are here to serve and love thy neighbor, then we all should be doing things like this,” Parman said.
Those wanting to assist with the program can contact Parman or Marian Krueger at the church office at 920-885-4497.