Packing food and goodwill at Marshalltown Christian School

Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds everyone to be grateful for what they have. At Marshalltown Christian School, it’s an opportunity to give back to less fortunate members of the community.

On Tuesday, the students of MCS were hard at work putting together food packages for the local Emergency Food Box. Each package contains six servings of food, and in all, they prepared the equivalent of around 5000 meals, which will bring joy to numerous local families.

This is not the first time the school has helped the community in this way. MCS Director Bethany Wirin shared that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, students and staff put together these food packages in both 2018 and 2019. Amid COVID concerns last year, the school opted to forego the food packing event, but it came back stronger than ever for Thanksgiving in 2021.

The First Presbyterian Church, The First United Methodist Church, and Journey Church sponsored the event. Without their support, it would not have been possible as education funds do not go toward the project.

Carrie and Rick Glessner also played a key role in the event’s success as they drove to Des Moines on Monday and picked up the needed supplies that were purchased from the Outreach program.

Aside from just helping the community, the project is part of the school’s larger mission as well.

“Part of our mission is to prepare students for service and leadership, so even in how we arranged kids around the table, we put leaders next to those who would need more help,” Wirin said.

Students surrounded two different tables, decked out in hair nets and aprons. Older students were paired with younger students to allow them to practice the leadership skills that become so vital later in life. All classes were split in half, so all grades could contribute equally.

Students were switched out once every hour or so, between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They were also enthusiastic about the event, and eager to help with little outside encouragement needed.

While the event is strictly local at this time, Wirin would love to see it expand in future years.

“We have several students from the Chin State in Burma, and we would love to see if maybe next year or in a future year we could send meals over there,” she said.

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Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or

smeyer@timesrepublican.com.