Paper bags filled with Thanksgiving love at Trinity
Brown paper bags are lining up the donation center at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna, but they’re not just any bag. They are filled with love and generosity of donations as part of the church’s “Thanksgiving in a Bag” effort.
For the sixth year, Trinity Lutheran is spreading holiday cheer by collecting Thanksgiving dinner for those less fortunate. The bags are filled with various items, including stuffing, vegetables, pumpkin pie filling, cranberries, gravy mix, broth and chex mix. In addition to the food items, each bag also includes a gift card to a local store for a turkey.
“The need for food assistance continues to rise, while supplies continue to dwindle,” said Elizabeth Malo, Trinity’s hospitality coordinator. “There are many who could use a helping hand.”
The Thanksgiving project, Malo said, is a way for members of Trinity to express their gratitude by making sure families don’t have to go hungry on Thanksgiving Day.
Anthony Kasper, who was a teenager in 2014, started Thanksgiving in a Bag. “He came to us and said, ‘I want to do something that would help the hungry in Owatonna,’” recalls Tanyia Greseth, Trinity’s church administrator. “He had a real passion of reaching out and helping people,” she said. When he went off to college, his parents, Steve and Carol Kasper, kept the project going.
The campaign to fill the bags began in mid-October and continues until next Tuesday. Members fill the paper bag with a predetermined list of groceries provided by the Steele County Food Shelf. Once the bags are dropped at church, they are delivered to the food shelf and will be distributed to area needy families. Trinity expects to collect around 125 bags valued at about $50 per bag.
“It’s so easy to do and so easy to follow,” Malo says. And, she added, it has such a big impact.
Malo said the generosity of Trinity members is so exciting to see. “It has gotten to be such a tradition,” she said. “It’s a good reminder that not everyone is fortunate to have a Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a good thing for kids to understand and share.”