Reps of Nemaha County Churches Accept Can Care-A-Van Spirit Award
The KOLN/KGIN Channel 10/11 Spirit Award was presented to representatives of two Nemaha County churches Wednesday morning, June 6, in Auburn.
First United Methodist Church, Auburn and St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Johnson, were recognized for their volunteer efforts with Southeast Nebraska Community Action (SENCA). The awards were presented during the KOLN/KGIN Can Care-A-Van stop at the SENCA Auburn outreach office.
Sasha Rightsell, SENCA family development specialist, nominated both churches. She said that members of both churches are “really good” about making monthly monetary or food contributions to the SENCA Food Pantry. Both churches are “extremely supportive” of SENCA, Rightsell said.
“I can rely on both churches to bring in something every month. It’s nice to have those churches working with us and bringing food in,” she said.
Rightsell said that members of Auburn First United Methodist Church bring vegetables grown at Lord’s Acre northwest of Auburn to the SENCA office.
The past two years, members of the Auburn church participated in the Kids Against Hunger event sponsored by the Nemaha County Ministerial Association. It involved packaging specially formulated rice-soy casserole meals.
The Rev. Fred Richart and Peggy Kuhl accepted the Spirit Award on behalf of Auburn First United Methodist Church.
“It shows the dedication of so many of our congregation to the health and well-being of the community. It is a pleasure to be on the receiving end of this award. It is also an awesome display of how we are reaching deeper, higher and wider. Our walk with Jesus is bearing fruit and the community has noticed,” Richart said.
“This annual award signifies how God is making contributions to the life of our entire community. We are the hands and feet of Jesus making a difference in the lives of people,” he said.
“If we don’t give, who else will do it?,” Kuhl said.
“It’s a wonderful feeling and an honor. It’s important that we gather as a community and do this kind of work,” Richart said.
Pastor Catherine Burroughs and Mary Michel, church council chair, accepted the Spirit Award on behalf of St. Matthew Lutheran Church.
“It’s important to give. We’re a small community and we’re part of Nemaha County. People in small towns are givers, too. We’re not in it for the awards. We’re not in it for the recognition. We’re in it because Nemaha County people are in need. That’s why we do the BackPack program for the (Johnson-Brock Public) School,” Burroughs said.
The BackPack program is funded by private, church and individual contributions, she said.
“Every Sunday, someone from our congregation contributes. We pack it, load it in a vehicle and take it to SENCA. The need is there. We are blessed enough that we can help those in need,” Michel said.
Jon and Taryn Vanderford of KOLN/KGIN-TV presented the awards.