The Backpack Ministry program we started in 2009 continues to meet great needs in our community. Originally we filled 10 backpacks. It was our goal to send home weekly packs to every family in the Luck school district who was on the free and reduced Lunch program. We have met that goal. Every week 64 packs go home to local families. The food is collected and housed in the store room of Natural Alternatives Food Co-op in Luck. High school students come to the Co-op to pack the bags and get them back to the school. We have help from Second Harvest with the food supply. The area churches supplement the weekly food needs. Our church is the “canned fruit and vegetable” church – so we collect those needed items year-round. We also take monetary donations for this project that helps Salvation Army supply much needed milk coupons in the backpacks once a month. Donations of food can be made at any time and can be left in the back store room by the kitchen. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this very vital ministry project!
The Gift of Warm Clothing
Our Gift of Warm Clothing (GOWC) ministry started in 2006 has evolved into a year-around effort that primarily serves neighbors in need in Polk County. GOWC also has served a few families in Barron & Burnett Counties as well as some out of state BLLC friends and family members.
GOWC team members Jessica Sund, Mary Brown, Lois Olson, Judy Caroon, Debra & Frank Boerboon, and Mary Ann Bowman coordinate the many phases of this project. This includes the donation of time, energy, talents of many volunteers plus acquiring gently used or new clothing from our generous congregation and extended community. GOWC helps make it possible for children to safely go to school and outdoors for recess by helping provide boots, jackets, snow plants, hats, scarves, and mittens for them.
GOWC acquires, either by purchase or donation, new and gently used winter outer-wear and boots. We then distribute it and get it into the hands of those who need it. We shop, sort, launder, mend, put in zippers, sew on patches, sort, organize, pack & un-pack, inventory, distribute, fill orders/requests, make phone calls and deliver to clients. This represents hundreds and hundreds of hours of fun, rewarding work. Each year we make a difference in the lives of over 300 individuals with a "Gift of Warm Clothing".
Our first distribution is during the first week of October at the church. We also distribute out of our “GOWC Warehouse" by referrals and requests received from area schools/counselors, Serenity House, CRA Shelter, Head Start Programs, Day Care Programs & Homes; WIC, Polk County Social Services, Red Cross, area pastors, individuals, and our own congregation members. Referrals take place throughout the year.
Our “GOWC Warehouse” is a large storage unit which was donated to us. It sits behind our church. Our program now has a GOWC Needs List Referral Form, a separate line item in the BLLC financial books, and a small bank balance to purchase much needed items.
Some High Points:
Local thrift stores gave us their winter outerwear that needed washing, mending, and zipper repair
Countless BLLC members bought and donated new & gently used winter outer-wear to GOWC
Our GOWC frugal and thrifty “Super Shoppers" found great deals on new and gently used jackets, snowpants, boots, etc.
Over 100 big plastic storage tubs were donated to GOWC so we can easily store our inventory
Over 200 loads of laundry were done by GOWC volunteers
Our sewing ladies put in many new zippers and take care of other repairs
Future Plans: We will continue to fill needs requests throughout the year. We will continue to shop & look for bargains to re-stock our inventory; will do a one-day distribution in early October at BLLC; will be writing grant requests to fund our purchases; and will be requesting merchandise donations & discounts from various retail stores. We will continue to rely on the support and generosity of our BLLC congregation and community at-large in supporting our mission outreach.
The GOWC Team is proud and humbled to be a part of this amazing mission of BLLC !
The Luck Ruby’s Pantry food distributions first began in December 2006, and a lot of wonderful blessings have happened in the past four years. This faith-based program is funded almost entirely by donations of the families participating, and isn’t government-funded. Ruby’s Pantry believes in giving a “hand-up” not a “hand-out”, as we show God’s love by “caring and sharing through food”.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the food distributions, as there are no income or county residence restrictions. The $15 cash donations are very welcome, yet no one is turned away if they can’t afford to donate. Individuals and groups are encouraged to “create” gift certificates through donations. Sponsors can choose to either “gift” the certificate themselves, or ask the Luck coordinators to give the certificates to families who would appreciate a helping hand. Contact any coordinator (below) to learn how your gift certificates can “pay it forward” with humbling yet empowering ripple-effect results.
From the distribution donations, 20% is distributed into our community for benevolence needs. When the team becomes aware that someone in our community has to travel for medical treatment, or has a major setback in their lives, a gas card is sent with a note of encouragement. Local pastors receive fuel cards to give people who ask for help. Funds have also benefitted the School Backpack Program, Luck School / Community newsletter, Gift of Warm Clothes, Polk Co. Family Preservation and Support, and the American Cancer Society.
The larger entity of Ruby’s Pantry, based in Pine City, MN, presently serves 26 communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota sites include Breckenridge, Menahga, Duluth, Cloquet, Brookston, Moose Lake, Hinckley, Ogilvie, Isanti, Pine City, Forest Lake, and North Branch. In Wisconsin sites are at Danbury, Spooner, Cumberland, Siren, Frederic, Luck, Amery, Cameron, Readfield, Waupaca, Wautoma, Clintonville, and Fond du Lac. New sites are expected to start soon in Fargo, ND, Duluth (Morgan Park), MN and Superior, Elk Mound and a number of requested of other locations. About 30 communities are on a waiting list. “Expanding” for the home office means more trucks, more staff, and especially more food. Please pray for God’s continued guidance for the success of Ruby’s Pantry.
Other Outreach Programs at Bone Lake Lutheran
Throughout the year we do many other community and global outreach programs. These include:
- Collecting food for Loaves and Fishes, our community food pantry.
- Collecting paper products and towels for Serenity Home (local homeless shelter) and Community Referral Agency (local women’s shelter).
- Making and filling over 60 school bags with school supplies, hygiene kits, and sewing kits for Lutheran World Relief.
- Our Quilters make over 100 quilts a year for Lutheran World Relief, plus more quilts for fire victims, and baby quilts for baptisms.
- We have a Prayer Shawl Ministry. Prayer shawls are knit or crocheted and given to people who are experiencing a difficult time in life.
- Collecting toys and clothes for Operation Christmas (Polk County).
- Buying livestock through ELCA GOOD GIFTS for our brothers and sisters in Christ in developing nations.