Readers’ Views

Thany you from MERGE

To the Editor:

It’s no secret to anyone that we’ve had to get creative this year when looking for the positive and finding ways to make things work during pandemic life…but it’s a fun surprise when the new idea actually works better than the original.

This year was the fifth year MERGE ( Martin County area youth-serving organizations including Bethel Evangelical Free Church, East Chain Evangelical Free Church, Grace Lutheran Church of Fairmont, Kinship of Martin County, Martin County Substance Abuse Prevention Youth Coalition, and Youth For Christ of Martin County) has hosted a Friendsgiving meal for area youth and their families.

The first two years, Fairmont Covenant Church hosted us, the second two years Grace Lutheran Church of Fairmont hosted. This year Grace graciously hosted again – but not in the same way as before. This year, rather than decorating tables and prepping dishes, our crew was packing to-go boxes and bags. While we knew we would miss the room full of conversation and voices, we still wanted to find a way to provide the meal to our students and their families.

We had no idea whether this new plan would work, and what numbers would be like. We were cautiously optimistic and decided to bump our numbers from 150 meals in previous years to 200 meals this year. We ran out of food, right at the end. It was the perfect amount.

What a wonderful surprise to look out the door and see a line of cars out the parking lot at Grace as we began to serve. Our masked workers and runners busily filled orders of turkey or ham, potatoes, corn, stuffing, gravy, rolls, and of course, pie. We greeted the drivers to take orders and kept our servers on their toes filling to-go boxes. It was just what we had hoped for, cars of our students and their families driving up in a row of steady ‘customers’ right up until the end of our serving time.

We want to thank all those who made this possible: Grace Lutheran for providing their kitchen and parking lot, MERGE members and volunteers for organizing, preparing, and serving, Culligan of Fairmont for providing water, Fareway and Hy-Vee for donating some of our food, American Legion Post 36, Kwik Trip, and Thrivent for providing funds, and area individuals for their donations of time, money, or supplies to fill in where needed to pull off this wonderful event. We hope by sharing our story we might also inspire you to look for the positive this holiday season and find new ways to continue traditions or create new ones and serve others as we are all in this pandemic together, hopefully, not only surviving but thriving by focusing on the positive.

Steph Johnson and members of MERGE


Annual Garden Awards

To the Editor:

Just in time for the holidays, the Mystic Order of Renegade Gardeners (Fairmont Chapter) awarded its first annual Yard and Garden awards. Winner were selected by an independent hearsay panel of judges from the National Order. This years winners are:

1st Place — Doug and Gretchen Bancks.

2nd Place — Jim and Jeanne Anderson.

3rd Place — Bill Busse and Doug Wollam.

Winners received a newly commissioned designer trophy and seeds acquired by trading away the cow. Because of COVID, no banquet was held and no monetary prizes were awarded.

Start planning your garden now fot our second annual awards in 2021. Depending on our energy, look for the sad “Black Spot” awards sometime in February. Help spruce up Fairmont…..

Bruce Ewig


Be a CREST volunteer

To the Editor:

Do you have a few minutes to spare? Looking for something interesting to do? Consider becoming a volunteer with CREST. It’s an awesome opportunity to meet seniors and caregivers, plus brighten their lives and make new friends. Your time will make a difference in their lives and enhance yours as well.

CREST volunteers talk on the phone a lot as they give people who are homebound a new voice to hear and share with. It’s comforting to know that someone cares about them and is checking in with them. Many of our seniors are limited in their ability to be out and about, especially during this COVID-19 time. A call from you will make their lives less lonely and help those four walls to widen.

CREST volunteers drive seniors to medical appointments, the bank, the library, grocery shopping, hair appointments, and even to lunch. Most trips are local, but some trips for medical appointments might be to Rochester, Sioux Falls, Mankato, or the Twin Cities. For these trips, gas cards are provided to help with expenses.

Currently, some restrictions prohibit us from going into homes to help with cleaning and small repairs. But, the need for your time continues to grow. Imagine the joy you will bring, and even the relief, that help is available. Then imagine how it will make you feel to have made it happen. Contact CREST at (507) 235-3833 or email us at crest@crestvolunteers.org today.

Rob Stauter

CREST Executive Director



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