Statement on Food Access Downtown

May 30, 2024

It was challenging and disappointing to learn that Hy-Vee has made the decision to close its store at 1st Avenue NE. It serves our neighbors in the Wellington Heights, Mound View, and Oakhill Jackson areas of town. These neighborhoods already fight homelessness and people struggling to sometimes make ends meet. The store closing will make these neighborhoods even more of a food desert, meaning there is no available, healthy, or affordable food within one mile.

We greatly appreciate all Hy-Vee is doing in response in the short-term to help people in need in our area. We also applaud the work of our mayor, city council, community development, and city leaders’ efforts regarding this concern. We encourage leadership to continue this important work until there are permanent workable solutions in place for citizens and commercial organizations.

With current events it will be even harder for people in our neighborhood to provide their families with at least one nutritious meal each day. For this reason, we are asking everyone in our church to step up and join us in our expanded efforts to answer Christ’s call in Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me food.” Please consider volunteering your time and or prayers to our ongoing projects such as the Matthew 25 Urban Gardens, SEMP, the HACAP food backpack program, Neighborhood Meals Program, and our newly expanded summer food drive starting soon. Our Hunger and Hope Team is always actively planning for our next opportunity to serve and would welcome your contributions.

-The First Lutheran Church Hunger & Hope Team

Martha Bonte, Nicole Chavez, Lory Christoffersen, Mark Erenberger, Ruth Jimmerson, Julie Peterson, Stephanie Phelps, Barry Sharp, Susan Sharp, David Westbrook, Michelle Westbrook, (Chair) Angie Whitmore, Doug Whitmore, and Pr. Craig Brown

saturday evening meal program (SEMP)

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The Saturday Evening Meal Program feeds anywhere from 75 to 150 people every Saturday night a free meal, no questions asked.  Several different teams of volunteers take turns each week to prepare and serve the meal.  If you are interested or feel called to this ministry please fill out the interest form. 

Interest Form

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what people are saying...

about Saturday Evening Meals Program

“When I cook it helps to see the needs and situations happening in our community and this is a way to give my talents. When serving the meal, it is real humility and connection to our guests. That’s priceless.” - Diane Selk

Hunger & Hope Team

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The mission of the Hunger and Hope Team is to battle hunger in our community and around the world by volunteering and supporting programs that feed those with food insecurity and to bring hope of the gospel and love of Christ to people by tithing to our synod and giving generously to our community, praying for and reaching out to those in our neighborhood, and showering blessing upon the guests whom God brings through our doors.  

If you are interested or feel called to this ministry please fill out the interest form.

  Interest Form

what people are saying...

about Hunger & Hope Ministry

"I enjoy getting the opportunity to give back and serve others. I also feel connected to our church by working with a team and getting to know my church family better." - Lory Christoffersen

Housing Team

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The mission of the Housing Team is to support efforts to get people in shelter and/or affordable housing  by partnering with entities that serve the homeless.  If you are interested or feel called to this ministry please fill out the interest form.

what people are saying...

about Housing Ministry

“Housing is a challenge around us and working with partners like Habitat for Humanity, Willis Dady, Matthew 25, you can feel our church is "in the city, for the city.” – Bruce Lindholm  

global outreach team

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The mission of our Global Outreach Team is to help the congregation connect with Global Outreach opportunities within the wider work of the ELCA and other organizations such as our partnership with the SAME Lutheran congregation in Tanzania. If you are interested or feel called to this ministry please fill out the interest form. 

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what people are saying...

about Global Outreach

“It reminds me God is working in all parts of the world, not just in our city or country. I have learned that we are more alike as Christians than we are different as a people.” - Arleen Zahn-Houser

Wellington Heights Community Church

First Lutheran has had a long connection and interest with the Wellington Heights neighborhood, serving people primarily through the Saturday Evening Meals Program (SEMP) and the summer lunch program in collaboration with St. Paul’s Methodist Church. FLC leadership believes that entering into a shared partnership with the Wellington Heights Community Church will serve the Gospel in many ways, both in supporting outreach into the community, and in receiving the gifts of the Spirt for reconciliation and peace from that ministry.

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Outreach Minsitry

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