Heart of Worship coordinates community donation for Nebraska and Iowa flood victims

                News footage of the
aftermath of widespread flooding in Nebraska and Iowa touched the heart of
Denise Staecker of Sully and prompted her to take action. Within 30 minutes of
seeing the devastation on TV and speaking with Heart of Worship Pastor Tom
Pool, she had a plan of action in place that would involve the generosity of
the entire community. The plan culminated bright and early Friday morning, Mar.
29, when Heart of Worship members delivered a trailer full of donated clothes,
food, and water to a Council Bluffs trucking business that was coordinating
donations for flood victims along Interstate 29.

Staecker said she was immediately given permission by Heart of Worship
Pastor Tom Pool to use the church’s trailer to haul donations of clothes that
were generously given by community members originally intended for the church’s
annual Pay It Forward event. Food and supplies came from the church’s Heart to
Heart Food Pantry as well as donated goods from the congregation. Vern Hartgers
donated 465 of his handmade toy cars for young children displaced by flood
waters.

Heart of Worship congregation members pose after loading a trailer full of donated goods from the community on Thursday, Mar. 28. The next day, several volunteers brought the donations to Council Bluffs for flood victims: Front row, Vern Hartgers, James Gruver, Paige James; back, Ryan Johnson, Mark James, Dennis Staecker, Kelli Johnson, Marge Hartgers, Kristi Brummel, Earl James, Heather James, and Denise Staecker.

                “It was definitely
a community effort! Without the generous donations of clothes for our Pay it
Forward event and food and supplies for our Heart to Heart Food Pantry, we
wouldn’t have been able to bless those who have lost everything in the floods,”
said Staecker.

                Church volunteers
helped load the trailer Thursday evening. The following morning, a team of
volunteers drove to Council Bluffs with the donations. In addition to community
members who have dropped items off at the Pay It Forward shed, Heart of Worship
church members involved in the loading and unloading process included Staecker
along with her husband Dennis and daughter Katie; Earl, Mark, Heather, Kynlee,
and Paige James; Kristi and Jeff Brummel; Janise and James Gruver; Vern and
Marge Hartgers; Mitzi Smith; Ryan, Kelli, and Kendrick Johnson; and Wyatt
Mathis.

                Staecker reports
representatives of the Council Bluffs trucking business were very emotional and
grateful for the generosity. A video taken by Terri Mils with the Council
Bluffs trucking business can be seen on the Lynnville Heart of Worship Facebook
page. The emotion in her voice is obvious as she taped Heart of Worship
volunteers transferring donated goods into the semi trailers. “They have been
through so much, and it’s obviously an emotional time for them. They were so
appreciative,” said Staecker. Connie Mertens, a representative of White Truck
Ministries – an organization that provides help for families in the Appalachian
Mountains and has partnered with Heart of Worship previously – wrote in a
social media post, “Thank you for all you do! Heart of Worship is truly the
hands and feet of Jesus.”

                The donations
wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of the entire community.
Staecker expresses her gratitude for everyone who continues to support Heart of
Worship’s Pay It Forward event and Heart to Heart Food Pantry through donations
or monetary gifts.

                “We are so proud of
our community and our congregation,” said Staecker.

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