Amelca Food Pantry
A brief history of our Food Pantry.
For almost 20 years, First Lutheran Church sponsored a food pantry on an emergency basis only, but as the economic picture changed in and around Decatur, it was decided our Panty needed to grow.
In the summer of 1999, First Lutheran Church formed a partnership with ST. Peters A.M.E., which they chose to call AMELCA. (The name is a combination of the Letters of our Denominational names).
For almost 5 years donations we received were from our two churches, but in 2004, The Letter Carriers Food Drive decided to include us in their effort, if AMELCA would become a member of Central IL Food Bank. With some reluctance it was decided to do so. It has been a great benefit to us since. We started receiving Federal grants about the same time. Around 2007 Panera Bakery come to town and we started receiving their left over products from that day, every Tuesday night. With the help of Thrivent donations, Kim and Sue's Christmas parties, other local church donations, Junior Welfare, inclusions in both churches budgets, and the very generous individual donations from both churches, we continue to grow.
AMELCA thanks everyone for their support, and we will continue to help the needy to the best of our ability.
The Volunteers of AMELCA
Nancy Kircher, Secretary
Mission Report from the International Health & Development Network (IHDN)
IHDN is a Springfield, IL-based, medical missions organization. IHDN owns and operate a small missions hospital at Weta, Ghana. Weta and surrounding towns and villages have a population of over 60,000 people. This is the only medical facility for these people in Ghana, who earn less than $2 a day. First Evangelical Lutheran Church (FELC) became associated with IHDN in 2006. At that time, Dr. Jamie Wade, who was a medical student joined the medical mission steam to Ghana. At total of 3 short term volunteers from FELC have been sponsored to join IHDN missions team to Ghana so far. This report describes the major activities of IHDN for 2012.
Mission Trips to Ghana
IHDN sponsored two mission trips to Ghana in 2012. The first trip was from Jan 26 to Feb 23 with 4 volunteers and a final year medical student, who is now a doctor. The second trip was from July 2-18,with 9 volunteers. Ms. Kelsey York, a member or First Evangelical Lutheran
Church was sponsored to join the team.
During these mission trips to Ghana, volunteers provide medical and surgical care at the IHDN Mission Hospital, train nurses, work in the medical laboratory, conduct workshops on Christian
Leadership and community development. Over 3000 people were treated by IHDN volunteers, in partnership with their Ghanaian team during the 2 mission trips. Most of the patients had malaria, hypertension, diabetes and degenerative joint disease. Surgical operations were performed on 61
patients. Most of these patients would not have had the chance to get these operations had the volunteer teams not gone to Ghana. Over 10 patients with breast and other cancers were also treated during these trips.
Nursing education is a major aspect of the mission trips. IHDN provided nursing assistant training to 10high school graduates interested in nursing. Some of these students end up being employed by the IHDN Mission Hospital. In-service training was also provided to present nurses on issues of critical care and emergency nursing care.
IHDN is continuing the construction of inpatient wards for the hospital as funds become available. Work is presently focused on a 40-bed unit. The walls for this building have gone up and the roof have been installed. Outstanding work include plastering of the walls, plumbing work, tiling, electrical, installation of windows and doors, which is estimated to cost about $110,000. There also a need for extension of access road (drive through) to these wards, which is yet to be tackled.
A six-unit single room flat was completed during the year. This is being used to provide accommodation to the nursing staff. Other nursing staff, who do not currently have decent accommodation are praying for the day when new flats will be built for them to occupy.
A canteen/cafeteria was opened during the year. This will allow patients and staff to be served food under hygienic conditions.
IHDN Mission Hospital
IHDN mission hospital has provided care to over 25,000 patients, since January 2012,with 50 Ghanaian medical staff. They work under severe challenges. There is no full time doctor and payment for services from the National Health Insurance program is very unpredictable. Most of the suppliers of medications to the hospital have not been paid making it difficult for them to continue to supply the drugs. Most doctors do not want to work in a village setting because they could make more money by working in the big cities than what IHDN is able to afford. IHDN is looking for retired or semi-retired physicians and nurses from the US to go and help work at the hospital.
Shipment of Container to Ghana
In October IHDN shipped a 40ft container to Ghana. This contained supplies and donated office equipment by Dr. & Mrs. Robert Carney and Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach Center, with doors donated by Dr. & Mrs. Ferdinand Salvacion. These shipment go a long way to assist with the ongoing work in Ghana.
Fundraising Dinner in support of the Inpatient Wards
IHDN hosted a fund raising dinner on March 23 at the Hope Evangelical Free Church. Volunteers from FELC, including Dr. James and Mrs. Susan Wade and Mr. Milton Scott and others, participated in this event. A total of $54,635 was raised. This has been sent to Ghana to assist with the construction of the inpatient ward. We thank all those who supported this event.
The work of IHDN has been a journey of faith. We thank all those who have come along with us. We look forward to a continued fruitful relationship with FELC
First Lutheran Church has been a member congregation of IPA since 2009. IPA is a faith-based community organizing advocacy group dedicated to issues of justice. In recent years, IPA has had several success in addressing the foreclosure crisis, payday lending, immigration reform, environmental concerns with corporate exploitation, corporate transparency, homelessness, and transportation needs for the poor and oppressed. Pr. Hoy is the current chair of the Decatur Chapter and serves also on the Board of IPA. Currently, about 10 communities of faith in Decatur are engaged with the work of IPA.
Pastor Hoy also recently recieved an Award from the NAACP Dectur Branch for his outstanding leadership and dedicated service in helping to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Decatu, IL.
Each year thereare many reasons to reach out to thoe in need all over the world. Each Thursday the LWR Quilters of First Lutheran meet to do their part in hnelping iwth this outreach ministry. In 2012 we did our part by sending 100 quilts, 100 school kits and 100 personal care kits to LWR. Sending these items is just the final step. We would never be able to begin to get to the final step if we didn't have the spritual and financial and material support of the whole congregation. Thanks to all of you who:
- Remembered this ministry in your prayes
- Gave generous gifts of money. This ministry is included in the budget each year but in addition to our budget we are able to do so much more because you remembered us with personal gifts of money and material.
- Stepped up to help with specific needs and always said yes when we asked.
- Participated in the noisy offering in October. Because of your generosity, in 2012, we were able, for the first time, to send the total amount of money that it took to pay for the shipping of our quilts and kits.
- And a special thanks to the LWR quilters who faithfully give their time to this ministry... Karen Wenger, Annette Summer, Mary Sinkewiz, Carla Scott, Eileen Meixner, Nancy Kircher, Ella Kasten (Carol Broeking's granddaughter), Janice Isaacs, Wanda Dettman, May Broomfield, (Karen Wenger's sister), Carol Broeking, Peg Books and Barb Ahlenius.
In addition to our contribution to LWR we made 25 quilts to give to the Decatur Family Refuge.
One Thrsday, while we were quilting, Jan Isaacs wondered out loud if any of our quilts and kits were given to people along the east coast of the USA after Super Storm Sandy. I got LWR's phone number off the computer and gave them a call. They said that 200,000 quilts and kits had been given to those in need after Super Storm Sandy. We were glad to hear that our own citizens were remembered in their time of need.
If you are interested in joining us each Thursday we start gathering at 9 A.M. and usually conclude about noon with lunch at a local restaurant. If you have any questions please get in touch with any one of the quilters menteioned above.
Story Book Project
First Lutheran took part in the Storybook Project at the Decatur Correctiional Center. Inmates select books to read and record to their Children. The book and CD are mailed to the children. The Children love hearing mom's voice reading the book. We also collected books along with monetary donations for this prison ministry. Karen Wenger and Marilyn Oftedal volunteer at DCC when LSSI comes to the Decatur Prison.
Social Ministry/Outreach Coordinator