At the 2017 Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly, Iowa Pork Producers donated ten, $100 pork coupons for congregations, who participated in Pigs with a Purpose, to use to help aid families in need in their communities throughout our synod.
As stories come in of congregations helping their communities Coco will be posting hunger spotlights here.
Lutheran Living Senior Campus
As my congregation is located in a nursing home, we do not have hunger insecurity here. As a result, I chose to share the IPP coupons and recipes with another organization in our community, Muscatine Center for Social Action (MCSA). MCSA serves a variety of social service needs in our community. Housed in the former YMCA, it is primarily a homeless shelter, but shares space with the offices of our local domestic violence shelter, a pediatric dental clinic (sponsored by the University of Iowa Dental School) an after-school program for children, teens, and young adults of all capabilities, and a variety of other organizations centered around helping those in need. I spoke with Charla Schafer, Executive Director of MCSA, and presented her with the coupons, recipes, and information from IPP. She was ecstatic! She shared that she often has people show up who are living on the edge, spending 80-90% of their income on housing with virtually nothing left over for food. She anticipates that the coupons will be used quickly by people who are in real need. She and I extend our deepest thanks to the Iowa Pork Producers for thinking of these hungry people and helping us all work together to eradicate food insecurity.
Pastor Susan Bantz
I loved the idea of the pigs and thought immediately of ways we could use it here. In the past, Lutheran Living has raised money for God’s Global Barnyard by saving their Bingo winnings. I thought we could do that and more. So I painted our pig and had a kick-off a couple of weeks before lent began. I invited everyone to suggest names for the pig at a quarter per guess. We immediately raised $37! We drew the name Penelope out of our suggestions, so Penelope she was (it’s painted on her ear).
Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we collected and saved our offerings from worship. During the week, Penelope would “hide” around the building each morning (only in public spaces, where residents could easily see her). It had initially been my plan to do this only a couple of times a week and put a dollar in when she was found, but when I announced it to our administrative staff, they got so excited that they wanted to participate, so they offered a “reward” each time a resident found the pig. Most of them sponsored a week for $5, but many gave much more. Caregivers, family members, and floor staff got in on the game too, often assisting residents who couldn’t participate on their own so they could have the fun of hearing their names announced over the intercom as that day’s finder of the pig!
Residents and staff alike had so much fun with this and I did too (although I admit I was running out of places to hide her). We have raised much more than our goal – an amazing amount from a relatively small group of people on fixed incomes. God was really with them, inspiring their generosity for those whose need is greater than their own.
Lutheran Living – Chaplain
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd is our Pigs with a Purpose highlight pig this week. See a note from their pastoral assistant below about the meaning behind the illustration.
At last! Our pig was finally delivered by Pastor Carlson from the Synod office in Iowa City as it was too big and heavy to ship. Thanks to Lakisha Aller for her wonderful artwork, painting the pig and portraying his meaning—to collect funds for World Hunger. He is displayed in the Narthex and if you look closely, Lakisha has captured the full meaning of this mission. You will note a world map centered by loaves and fishes and on the left a fork with the handle being the word ”fighting” and on the right a knife “world” and the spoon “hunger”. The colors are beautiful. I had asked for suggestions for name for our pig and didn’t get much response but then I recalled what is probably my favorite gospel passage, Matthew 25:37-40. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” so I have taken the liberty to name our pig Matthew. He is joined by his little sister, Matilda (she’s pink with white polka dots), a plush bank in which you may drop your bills and coins or you may use your offering or pew envelope at church services. The bishop’s office has hopes that each pig will bring to this mission at least $500.00. Knowing Good Shepherd people and their desire to feed the hungry I am projecting we will offer more than that. Matthew and Matilda will be on display until just before May 19th when the funds will be taken to the Synod Assembly on May 19th and 20th at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines. On behalf of the hungry people around the world we thank you. Thanks again to Lakisha for the great job.
Sara Downs, Pastoral Assistant
Check back next week for another Pigs with a Purpose highlight!
When it comes to Pigs with a Purpose
, someone might think that the $500 commitment to bring as offering to synod assembly is a little steep.
Indeed, that is over a month of average grocery bills in my house, a good portion of my monthly mortgage, and Lord knows all of the fun things I could do with the same amount. Clearly I’m not saying that $500 is petty cash by any means, but in the bigger picture, what does $500 actually mean? What would it take for a family, neighborhood, youth group, congregation to come up with these funds?
After you’ve taken a look, consider: how much is it worth to raise at least $500 for children of God who hunger? How much is it to sacrifice even a little for the sake of our sisters and brothers?
And then, after considering, join me in committing to work (and give) to end hunger.
To request a pig and pledge to bring at least $500 to our synod assembly offering, contact Coco Lyons: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you and your pig at the assembly in May!
Pastor Erika Uthe,
Assistantt to the Bishop
Mitten is the first of what we hope will be many pigs popping up across the Southeastern Iowa Synod between now and the synod assembly in May. These will be pigs with a purpose…to reinforce that ours is an anti-hunger synod and to raise funds to fight hunger.
Here is how it works. Plywood cut-outs of pigs in the same shape as Mitten are available to any group or individual that will commit raising or contributing at least $500 toward anti-hunger efforts between now and the Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly, May 19-20, 2017. Decorate your pig. Display it at your church or in your yard or wherever it is likely to get the attention of others who want to join the effort to fight hunger. And then send or bring the money you’ve committed to the synod assembly as part of a special offering to help end hunger.
To get started, contact Coco Lyons, Associate for Communication (email@example.com). She will help you get connected to your pig. And then enlist the aid of others (youth group, church choir, altar guild, family and/or friends) to decorate and to donate. $500 is “buy in” for a pig, but there is no limit to how much can be contributed. The more, the better. All funds will go directly to support ELCA World Hunger ministries or anti-hunger efforts within the synod.
Our hope is the people from every congregation in the synod will assist in this special effort to raise funds to fight hunger. This is not limited to acquiring your own pig with a purpose. Every gift of any size matters and will be welcomed into a synod-wide anti-hunger offering at the synod assembly. But the pigs can serve as a visible reminder of our commitment as they draw attention to the effort to feed the hungry and support people living in poverty.
By the way, Mitten got that name from Bishop Burk’s grandson, Noah. Mitten will be “attending” the synod assembly. It will be great to have lots of other colorful reminders at the assembly on full display. Between now and then, who knows where the Bishop’s Pig might show up.