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Farmington Lutheran project makes birthdays happier

There will be 100 happier birthdays in Farmington thanks to the work of a group at Farmington Lutheran Church.

The party care packages, each of which contains cake mix, frosting, candles, paper plates and decorations, are the work of a group of Farmington Lutheran parents that has been meeting since September in between the church’s two Sunday services. While their children are in Sunday school, the parents talk about issues like stranger danger, competition in sports and praying with their children.

Earlier this year, group members decided they’d like to do a service project. After discussing some ideas, they settled on donating birthday party kits to the Farmington Food Shelf.

The last Sunday of every month is dedicated to the food shelf at Farmington Lutheran, so in March the group asked members of the congregation to donate birthday supplies.

They came through, big time.

“None of us really knew what to expect going into it, but everyone was blown away by the amount of product that was donated,” said Sara Rausch, one of the members of the parent group who helped organize the drive.

Group members brought gift bags home and had their children decorate them with birthday messages. Then, on April 6, they started packing. They stuffed 100 gift bags in all.

Intern pastor Wendy Steger started the parents’ group as one of her projects last fall, and the group is still small. Most weeks eight to 10 people attend, though there might be as many as 20 some weeks. Rausch said she liked the birthday package idea because it allowed the group to reach outside itself and involve the congregation and other members of their families.

“It was a way to get our children involved,” Rausch said. “Some of the other (ideas) we talked about would have been during that time when the kids were in Sunday school. This way the kids could decorate the bags outside of Sunday.”

Helping people celebrate a birthday was also a way to be inclusive of everyone in the community.

“I think it kind of appeals to the heart of a parent, imagining not having the things you would need to celebrate a birthday,” Steger said.

This was the first service project for the parent group, but Rausch doesn’t expect it to be the last.

“I think everyone was very excited about what we were able to accomplish,” she said.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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