Home Youth service A group of young people assist the pantry of the Muscatine Social Action Center

A group of young people assist the pantry of the Muscatine Social Action Center


MUSCATINE, Iowa – In July, students from the First Baptist Church youth group were able to put into action some of the community service directors they learned while helping the Muscatine Social Action Center pantry. The students worked together to organize a food drive in their congregation and to help the Muscatine Social Action Center distribute the collected food to see for themselves how they could make a difference in their own community.

John Hesseling, the youth group leader, explained that a recent lesson the group had studied along with the church’s renewed emphasis on outreach was the perfect time for the young people to help support the Center for Muscatine’s social action and lend a hand in the pantry. He detailed, “We were working on a lesson on generosity and discussed doing a project that reinforced the idea. The first suggestion was to organize a food drive. Our church focused on outreach and we didn’t feel like just collecting food and delivering it to the pantry. We wanted the young people to really participate, to be able to see and meet the people whose needs were being met.

Once they had their project plans in place, the students posted an announcement about their campaign, helping members of their congregation understand their goal with the desire to bring food to the pantry and send it to people in need. The church supported their efforts, donating a total of 600 pounds of food.

On July 18, the students brought their food to the Muscatine Social Action Center and helped them pack some of the non-perishable items into bags to prepare them for distribution the next day. The students returned the next morning to distribute the prepackaged bags, along with fresh bread and milk, to people who came to the pantry to pick them up. They also helped drivers get the bags of food they needed to drop off at people who couldn’t get to the food pantry in person. In total, the students served 93 families, or 192 people in total.

Because the Muscatine Center for Social Action benefits greatly from donations and help from volunteers, they felt deeply grateful for the support of the First Baptist Church youth group. “This group was so attentive to the needs of our customers, while maintaining an atmosphere of positive energy,” said Navi Pauley, pantry coordinator for the Muscatine Center for Social Action. “It’s so exciting to see the younger generations being so willing to meet the needs of our community with such enthusiasm.”

Hesseling said he was pleased with how the students put their learning into practice and hoped that this practical lesson in generosity and volunteerism would stay with them in the future. “I think it was very brave of the young people to take part in this event, he observed. “Often we don’t get personally involved in life, and I think the young people had an experience that hopefully taught them more about service and meeting the needs of others. »

The Muscatine Social Action Center always welcomes groups of volunteers and organizations to donate to their food pantry or to volunteer with distribution and other tasks. Anyone wishing to donate or volunteer should contact Resource Development Officer Nik Horn by calling 563-264-3278.