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Photo Caption: Immanuel Lutheran Church members gather for a group photo on Friday inside the church's Family Life Center for Sunday's Fall Harvest Dinner.

Fall Harvest Dinner helps fund mission trips

Fourteen Immanuel Lutheran Church youth are eager to attend the National Youth Gathering next year in Minnesota, however, they must first come up with the funding.

Fortunately, the annual Fall Harvest Dinner is returning for the fifth year from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday inside the church’s Family Life Center, 1470 23rd Ave. Proceeds gathered will help give youth a financial boost helping to turn their dreams into a reality.

Tickets are being sold at the door at $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-10 and free for children 4 years and younger. 

Because the majority of food and manpower are donated by parishioners, organizers said the event raises an average of $1,500 annually for trips.

In the past, laywoman Arlene Blessen said a group of parishioners wanted to embark on a mission trip but it fell through due to insufficient funding. Because of that, members wanted to make sure history does not repeat itself and came up with the fundraising event.

Since then, the event has helped finance youth mission trips to areas like Chicago, Denver and Oklahoma.

“Usually there are anywhere from 12-17 kids that go, so it takes a lot of money,” said church member Bonnie Schumacher, who was spending her Friday afternoon helping set up the venue. 

During these trips, groups consisting of teens ages 14-18 helped low-income residents paint houses, cleaned public areas and led children's bible studies.

However, this year’s trip will be slightly different. Throughout the five-day gathering in Minnesota, participants will be spending time in worship services and fellowship with other members across the synod.

“It’s important that the children learn to do their work for God …,” Schumacher said.

Blessen said it's a way for youth to be helping those in need and to spread the message of Jesus Christ.

From car washes to fundraisers, the youth group is also putting in efforts to help finance the trip. Participating members will be volunteering on Sunday as servers.

“They have to raise money, too,” said church member Donna Hobbs, who is helping out with event preparations for the third year. “We just help them.”

Parishioners were seen on Friday at the venue setting up tables, mashing potatoes and defrosting turkeys in preparation of the upcoming Thanksgiving-themed dinner. The event is set to accommodate more than 200 guests.

“We couldn’t do it without everybody helping,” Hobbs said.

Attendees will be able to have a taste of their favorite Thanksgiving dishes like roasted turkey, stuffing, pies and green beans before the holiday.

“We just welcome the community to join us,” Blessen said. “It’s a good fellowship, and hopefully, good food.”

Organizers said the event is a good showcase of the church’s fellowship. Schumacher said it helps people realize how much they enjoy helping one another.

“Just having a good time and laughing,” she said.

CREDIT: The Columbus Telegram (Natasya Ong)

Author: The Columbus Telegram

Location: Columbus, NE

Date Published: November 03, 2018