Lakes community packages over 186,000 meals for Ukrainian refugees

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 9:52 PM CDT
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SPIRIT LAKE, I.A. (Dakota News Now) -The lakes community came together today to package over 168,000 meals for Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

The region includes residents from West and East Okoboji, Big Spirit Lake, as well as Lower Gar Lake.

Organizers of the event say they never expected it to get so big, and say it is one of the largest efforts in Iowa.

“This is the largest gathering of people to pack food for the Ukraine and so we’re super excited about that,” said Teresa Goehring, Director of Youth Ministries of St. Joe’s Catholic Church.

She says the idea sparked from a local highschooler in the area

“A highschooler student came up to me and said, we need to do something about this, and I was like aa we can raise some money and we can end a check over and he said no we need to do something,” said Goehring.

Those at the event say seeing the turnout shows just how supportive the community is.

“It’s great for people outside of the really specific Spirit Lake and Okoboji area to see that our community really comes together,” said Mindy Leinbaugh, volunteer.

Local pastor in the community, Brian Hughes says this was necessary with the large number of refugees needing assistance.

“Now 2 million people have left their homes, now 4 million people have left their homes, pretty soon 7 million Ukrainians have left their homes and have become refugees,” said Pastor Brian Hughes.

The food packaged today will be sent out tomorrow morning for refugees.

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