Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Those helping needy every day are inspirational

by Lisa Seiser

November 17, 2011

I know it's a week early, but I can't help feeling warm and fuzzy inside during these days leading up to Thanksgiving.

For the past several days, I have spoken with a number of people from First Evangelical Lutheran Church, who are putting on a free Thanksgiving Day meal for those in need or alone during the holidays.

These are giving people who are sacrificing their time with family to help others. What better definition of Thanksgiving is there?

Full of excitement, their spirit is infectious. Margie Smith, a resident of Wheatland, and a 15-year member of the church, has been heading this event and actually came up with the idea. She said the community help with the project has been nothing less than inspiring and amazing.

Businesses also have been more than willing to help, according to Smith. They are donating money, food items, and Piggly Wiggly is even going to cook 20 turkeys for the event.

But it also is the 40-plus volunteers expected to help out that day and their desire to give to others that should be commended.

The story about the Thanksgiving meal and why they're having it will be in next week's Regional News. I look forward to telling everybody about it.

In the meantime, I also have been at the W.C. Food Pantry watching as local Boy Scouts pack bags of food and adults plan ways to bolster donations for the upcoming holiday season.

On the evening of Nov. 8, a handful of scouts carried box after box into the small storage room at the W.C. pantry. There, they unpacked the food, stacked it on the shelves and then gathered it together and made grocery bags full of food for the next day, when the pantry would be open to help those in need.

There was little joking or fooling around. These boys were serious about packing the food. Others were sweeping and cleaning the pantry area.

Then, Ardith Drescher, who basically runs the pantry, showed me the collection of books she has. These books are given out to those who visit the pantry. She was beaming when she talked about how the kids who come in each leave with a book and they would be so happy. Those books are then typically returned their next visit and they get another one. There also were many adult books available.

Drescher said many of the books were donated and there is a need for more.

She also mentioned a woman who every month sends to the pantry a new $100 bill. There is no name on the envelope and Drescher said she is called the "mystery lady." But that lady's money the past two months will be used to buy 100 pounds of butter for the pantry. Drescher called the donation a "very special thing."

That wasn't all that happened that night at the pantry. Matt Stinebrink from Piggly Wiggly, Jeremy Kinsey from the Lake Geneva Jaycees and Frank Guske from the Scouts all agreed to team up to get the community involved in helping local needy people leading up to Thanksgiving.

People can donate at Piggly Wiggly for turkey dinners for needy families. The Jaycees will match every turkey dinner bought and the grocery store will donate a pumpkin pie for every meal.

There's something about Thanksgiving and the holidays that bring out the best in many of us. But the people and organizations mentioned above perform many good deeds all year round.

Most of the time, they do it without any fanfare or publicity. They do this all because it is the right thing to do and their efforts make our community better and stronger.

These people make me want to be a more giving and compassionate person.

I hope as the holiday season is approaching, others throughout the area will thank these unsung heroes by choosing to help out a little bit themselves.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.