KANSAS CITY, Mo. - While summer is a time for fun, a break and adventure for the youth of a community; it can also be a time of service and a chance to give. The youth group from Elim Lutheran Church in Marquette, spent a couple days of their break on a mission trip in Kansas City, Missouri at the Gathering Table Worshiping Community, formerly known as the Children’s Memorial Lutheran Church.

Year around, every Sunday, Elim Lutheran Church passes around offering bowls where the congregation can give to the Gathering Table. The youth group of the Elim Lutheran Church thought that for this year’s trip they could go and do service for the community that they have such close ties with. 

From June 5 to June 7, the group helped organize, clean and cook for the Gathering Table Church. The group consisted of Madison Loder, Michelle Loder, Emma McBride, Dawson Feil, and Ethan Able, as well as group leaders Hannah Jones and Carly Peterson.

As soon as the group got to Kansas City they immediately met with the Pastor Ann Runquist and got to work. The youth organized food cans for their pantry and helped cook meals the church serves the community throughout the day. 

In addition, the church has a second-hand store that the community is welcome to and so the group organized the wears within the store. The work the group did had a tremendous effect on the community. Runquist praised their efforts, stating that it was more than any other group had accomplished before.

The youth group was rewarded with a little fun around Kansas City after a hard day’s work. They went to a Royals baseball game and the Sea Life Aquarium. In addition they got to walk around Union Station and bond by doing an escape room. 

This group works year-round to afford the necessities to go on these yearly mission rips. At various events in Marquette, the group sells concessions to the community for fundraising purposes. They are constantly requesting for donations from the community and have various donors they are grateful for. However, their biggest event of the year is the Valentine's Day dinner. The youth group sells tickets to the community and they decorate the church in a romantic manner to serve a nice dinner. Spaghetti, green beans, cupcakes, and garlic bread is served. 

These youth members come from at least three different high schools around Marquette; schedules are difficult to match up however they have achieved their goals by going somewhere the past three years.  

“I love how close knit our community and if our group can give that to other churches, that’s great,” said Michelle Loder. “Overall it was a really eye opening experience.”

Next year the Elim Church youth group plans to go on another mission trip during summer break, though they haven’t picked where it will be yet.