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Minnesota National Guard
United Lutheran Church makes care packages for soldiers' families

A new service project by members of United Lutheran Church aims to reach 600 families of Minnesota National Guard soldiers who are soon to be deployed
United Lutheran Church Sunday school children decorate bags to hold care packages destined for 600 Minnesota National Guard families

According to the Rev Steve Timm, pastor at United Lutheran Church, approximately 2,400 soldiers from Minnesota will head this spring to Iraq and Kuwait

"We're concerned about them and others who make a sacrifice for the sake of that service - their families," Timm said "This project is to send a care package, not to the soldiers overseas, but to their families, mostly to let them know we're thinking about them"

Organizers decided on 600 care packages because they wanted to each to contain something "reasonable" but would also stretch people give, Timm explained, adding that the cost estimate for the project is $8,000

Each gift bag will contain five things: a package of note cards with envelopes; a book mark with an inspirational poem or saying; a postcard with phone numbers provided by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon which military families can call if they need help with anything; a $10 gift card to Subway, Target or McDonald's; and a personal note of encouragement or support from the person who assembles the gift bag

"It's not a lot of money, but a way of saying we value your sacrifice," Timm said of the gift cards

Once the bags are assembled, Timm said he will deliver them to the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program and Family Assistance Centers to be distributed to families who could use them the most

"For myself, being both a veteran and still a soldier in the National Guard and a pastor, it does touch a lot of things that are near to my heart," Timm said "It helps me to make the connections between the church and these soldiers' families"

Timm has served in the Middle East

"For us as a church, we wanted to show the community we're not just concerned with what happens in our building, in our church," Timm added

Children in the church's Sunday school classes have been decorating paper lunch bags for the care packages, which will be assembled at 10 am April 3 at United Lutheran Church

The community is invited to help that day Donations also can be sent or brought to the church throughout March
"Let's really show these families that we appreciate their sacrifice and are thinking of them while their loved ones are away," Timm said

By: Amber Barrios, The Republican Eagle
Published March 20, 2011, 03:00 PM

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