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Gathering 4 Good: Volunteers turn out to pack 2,500 care packages

The filled bags are put into boxes (15 to a box) for placement on trucks which then delivered them to the Hastings recipients.

More than 150 volunteers had registered before Sunday’s Gather4Good activity at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Hastings. Then, another 100 walked in to help pack the 2,500 personal care packages.

Stacie Suedkamp of Catholic United Financial, helping with the registration, seemed in awe of the generosity of the people giving of their time.

“They just keep coming,” she said.

The program is a newer one of Catholic Financial United, begun several years ago.

“It started when our company, Catholic United Financial, realized this is what our company is all about — reaching out,” she said. “There is such a need.”

The focus was, and is, about making sure the basics are covered for people in need, she said. Each kit holds 17 items, including such items as shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, razor blades, nail files, shampoo and shaving items. A towel and wash cloth are included in each kit, too.

At the first location, the registered volunteers were asked to write messages of encouragement that would be part of the tote. Children drew pictures on some of the notes.

The second area was set up as an assembly line, with each volunteer taking a bag, and walking along the line to fill it with the items that were set out on the table.

As the bags were filled, they were given to other volunteers who placed the bags into boxes (15 per box), for placement inside the waiting trucks.

The filled bags were designated for Hastings Family Service (they will be part of this year’s holiday assistance packages), the Lewis House and Hastings TotalLifeCare.

Lunch was provided by The Green Mill of Hastings. Lemonade and pop were available and the band Sam Rocha played throughout the event.

Each kit costs about $7.50 to make and donations from Catholic United members, area businesses and individuals help underwrite the expense of the project. Donations can be made at www.gather4 More than 100 Catholic United Financial councils, businesses, and individuals from Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota have donated to date.