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Click here to see a photo album from the 2016 Thanksgiving Ingathering.
Several volunteers of all ages woke early on a Saturday to help package donations brought from about 100 churches across Northwest Iowa. School Kits, Flood Buckets, Layette Kits and more were assembled and loaded onto a truck for transportation to a depot in Louisiana.
“We have the Iowa Nigeria Partnership truck and UMCOR that we load, and it all goes down to a big depot in Louisiana,” said Veronica Timmerman, who has been helping the Northwest District Ingathering for 35 years. “They sort through it all and send it where it needs to go. During Katrina, they sent out a bunch of school kits, and my niece got a bunch of them. She lives and teaches school down there.”
The Cherokee site purchased 550 boxes this year and hopes to fill as many as last year. Timmerman said 548 boxes were filled at their site alone.
While the volunteers were packing, church members who donated went into the WIT Convention Center to see presentations from Heifer International and the PET project—two organizations that benefit from the Ingathering initiative.
About 150 people arrived for lunch and many stayed for the live quilt auction.
“We have a volunteer auctioneer that comes from LeMars every year to help with the quilt auction. He’s just a wonderful man and we really appreciate his help,” Timmerman said.
With the help of the animated auctioneer and District Superintendent Tom Carver, the quilts quickly came off the rack and were sold. The quilt that sold for the most came from Seney United Methodist Church and went for $320. It was a 72 x 80-inch quilt that was machine quilted, but church members spent weeks hand-embroidering roses onto it and even quilted hearts around each section of roses.
Many youths also participated in packing this year. They were not able to have a lock-in the night before as in previous years, but are hopeful to have some volunteers step up for next year.
“A lot of pastors bring kids from other places, like LeMars and Sibley and all around. It’s all the district working together,” Timmerman said.
When asked if volunteers will return next year, Timmerman laughed and said, “We think we’re getting too old for it, but who really wants to quit!”