BADGER - On a cold, windy, snowy day nine members of the Badger Lutheran Church high school Sunday School class left Badger headed to Minneapolis, Minn., on a mission trip.
Congregational members had been donating bags of used clothing, and the Badger Quilters sent quilts along for the youths to distribute to the homeless.
The group didn't restrict anything that the homeless could take, except the quilts, as they were very much in demand on this cold afternoon.
These students would be doing something to give back to those in need through this outreach program. Most of the youths had no idea people could be living in such poverty and what was ahead of them for the day.
The group, along with their teacher, Larry Hall, and three chaperones, arrived in three vehicles and a van packed full of bagged clothing about noon at the outskirts of Minneapolis. They immediately headed downtown to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in the Phillips neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis.
They met the Rev. Paul Gustafson, who had helped to organize this outreach project with Hall. Following an orientation and plans for the weekend, the group went outside into 4-degree weather to set up the afternoon's mission.
Every Saturday afternoon, food is served on this corner and clothing is given away to whomever needs it. Almost every race and religion are represented in this neighborhood.
The Badger group then began the task of serving hot dogs, chicken noodle soup, coffee and Kool-Aid outside to approximately 100 homeless people. Men and women of various ages were waiting for the hot meal and some new clothes. At least one man had walked in the cold weather from 2 miles away with no gloves or hat, just to find clothing for himself and his family.
Normally there would have been more people gathered, but because of the cold weather, it was a smaller group. The kids assisted in distributing the donated clothing and were surprised when they noticed no one took more than they needed. The kids even noticed a couple with a small baby trying to keep warm and found blankets for them.
Countless warm smiles and "bless you for what you are doing" kept the youths going, despite the cold weather.
At 4 p.m. the group headed to the Salvation Army Harbor Light Mission and received a tour of the facility. Following the tour, they helped sort and package clothing that is donated to the Salvation Army for about two hours.
Harbor Lights has sleeping mats for 150 men, and Saturday night it would be full.
That Sunday morning the group attended services at the Inner City Church of Minneapolis, a predominantly black "recovery" Church. Both ministers are recovering drug addicts who minister to more than 1,000 people every week. They've also planted seven churches across the country with the goal of reaching the urban, poor, addicted and abused and are featured on the 700 Club website.
Contact Gloria Tjaden at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org