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Community outreach group to welcome new residents to town

Hastings has seen a continued growth in population since the 2010 census, according to the United States Census Bureau. With the continued growth to Hastings, some members of the community have decided to develop a way to help the new members to the community feel more welcome.

Charlotte Pierce, in collaboration with her church, Hope Lutheran, has come up with a community outreach opportunity for new residents to town in the form of a Welcome Bag.

“We want them to know Hastings is a friendly, active community and we try to be neighborly and we want to be more of a small-town feel,” Pierce said.

The bags will include items that will help new residents learn about the community. Pierce said some of the items will be a community guide, train map, street map, sporting opportunities, the Hastings Star Gazette, coupons to the dairy store and Emily’s cookies. All the contents will be placed in a cloth bag.

Pierce, who has lived in the Hastings community for 14 years, said she was able to get to know the community pretty easily because she drives a school bus, but when new people move in it might be harder. She said one of the major concerns is that it is difficult for new residents to find out what is available for their children.

Although the idea for the bags was initiated by members of Hope Lutheran Church, Pierce said they don’t intend to promote the church through the bags. In fact, she said someone might be putting together a list of all the churches in town to include in the bag.

The bags will be brought to the homes of new residents with a few people to personally welcome the homeowners to town. If no one is home, they plan to leave a note that says when they will drop the bag off. If no one is home again, they will leave the bag at the door.

The Welcome Bag volunteers plan to put together these bags once a month, with the first one being compiled Aug. 13.

“We love Hastings,” Pierce said, “and we want to make people feel welcome.”

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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