Peterson events result in generous donations to Camp Noah

By MATTHEW RODENBURG

Peterson area residents have raised nearly $1,400 to help young kids in rural Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Monetary donations, as well as “Kids Kits” were directed to Camp Noah, a ministry under the umbrella of Lutheran Social Services in Minnesota. Camp Noah was started in 1997 in response to flooding in the Red River Valley in North Dakota and in Minnesota.

“When the Friends of Peterson began seriously planning Christmas in Peterson, we decided to encourage our churches (and other parties) to make and donate the fleece or completed fleece blankets, needed to put on the camps,” said Friends of Peterson Board Member Gail Boyum. Boyum is one of the individuals who has helped Peterson direct their focus to assisting Camp Noah for this holiday season.

The big push came during Christmas in Peterson, held on Dec. 9. The capstone of the event was a concert put on by Mariah Ciangiola and other local artists. The event raised $384.

Those funds were combined with a $1000 donation from RADAR and Friends of Peterson.

In order to put on a camp, Camp Noah needs to have materials for 50 students to create a “Kids Kit,” filled with relief items. Each kit is identical and also contains items such as art supplies and fleece blankets. The monetary donations will help provide more fleece for the blankets.

Pilot Mound Lutheran Church has already donated 50 completed Kids Kits.

“That’s a lot,” said Deb Book, Friends of Peterson volunteer. “We found when purchasing items that to make one kit it would be $10-12. And they were very specific (about what went into the kit). We were just really impressed that they put that many together.”

Other churches, including Grace Lutheran, Arendahl, North Prairie, and even the Peterson auxiliary have put together kits or sewn fleece blankets for donation. At Grace Lutheran, several volunteers in the church have helped put together the fleece blankets. Earlier this month, they had a work-day where eight church ladies worked on fleece blankets and put together over 20 blankets in one day. “It was a really fun day,” said Book.

The group will do another work-day after the holiday season. Book anticipates that they will have no problem putting together that many blankets again. “What’s nice about the fleece blankets is that there is no sewing involved. If you can tie a knot, you can make a blanket,” Book said. Anyone who is interested in joining in this work day can contact Book or Grace Lutheran Church.

Grace Lutheran also offers a donation spot where anyone can drop off individual items for the Kids Kits. During Christmas in Peterson, Book estimates that at least 12 completed Kids Kits were donated, as well as individual items that will be combined to fill a kit.

The Friends of Peterson are still collecting donation items, and a list of items can be found at the drop-off area at Grace Lutheran.

Boyum will continue to make trips to St. Paul to drop off items at the Lutheran Social Service site.

At Christmas in Peterson, the city collected donations through their long-standing giving opportunities: the mitten tree and food shelf donations.

According to Book, the mitten tree was relatively full. Donations made to the mitten tree go to area children, who are given scarves, mittens, and other winter apparel.

The city of Peterson also collected $159.25 in cash and 48 pounds of food that will be donated to the food shelf. “We were just very impressed with how generous people were with all three of those giving opportunities,” Book said.