Bethlehem Lutheran feeds nine families for Thanksgiving

The folks at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and School gathered 57 cans of green beans, a similar number of jellied cranberry sauce, a heap of Krusteaz pie crust and a pile of jars of Boston Market gravy for this year's holiday food baskets.

The baskets were put together for nine local needy families.

Five adults and 15 young people were hard at work by 10 a.m. Saturday at the church, with the youth decorating the boxes and adults organizing donations.

"We actually go out and deliver the food, too," said Andrew Deterding, 10. "It's fun except when somebody's not home or they say you've got the wrong address."

While the boxes of almond poppy seed muffin mix and Carnation instant milk where piled up in a circle, members of the youth group taped white construction paper around cardboard boxes and used crayons and pens to add color.

Taylor Roy, 9, explained her plan. "We could do, like, designs with hearts and say..."

"Jesus loves you," interjected Christine Gansberg, also 9, and the two got to work.

As Taylor wrote carefully across the paper box wrapping, "... and give thanks to the Lord for he is good," Christine explained. "It's good to give other people food and share."

Jared Baxter, 12, said the group is called B.Y.G. for Bethlehem Youth Group.

"I've been coming here since I can remember," he said. "I like this project because we're helping people."

Pastor Paul Deterding joined the church in March of 2000, coming from Jackson, Miss.

"This is only the third Thanksgiving that I've been pastor," he said. "But this project has been going on a long time."

He likes how the food baskets bring together church members of different ages.

"It's an opportunity to show thanks to Christ for his gift of salvation for kids and adults alike," he said.

Families selected for food baskets from Bethlehem Lutheran either approach the church, or are suggested by Advocates to End Domestic Violence.

Next up for the B.Y.G. is the All-Youth Day in December. The day includes older kids helping younger ones get gifts together for the holidays and a gingerbread house making event.

"It's not a competition because we don't judge them," Pastor Deterding said.


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