SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — A group of leaders at Peace Lutheran church wanted to find a way to bring their community together and invite others in. What they came up with was a weekly picnic.
“It started as an idea between the faith formation team members just to get to know the neighbors and to invite conversation with neighbors and people that work in the neighborhood and members,” Holly Marty, director of faith formation said.
The picnics serve hotdogs, chips, a dessert and drinks between noon and one each Wednesday.
“They’re really good hot dogs. I love fresh grilled hot dogs. They’re better than the ones in the microwave at home,” Evan Kuenzi, 12th grader at Roosevelt said.
The picnics will end in mid-August, but Marty hopes they can do it all again next summer.
“Some of the repeat folks coming and just having conversation, and as we see them come back each week, just the conversations. Some of our kids will stop by because they know this is a place they can come and get some free food and play some games for a while,” Marty said.
“Our congregation is really trying to get more involved in the community and be more inclusive, so this is just a great way to have neighbors join us,” Gayleen Riedemann, church member said.
The church put up flyers at local businesses and apartments to encourage everyone to join.
“When I was doing my theatre stuff over the summer, it aligned right with our lunch break, so it just seemed like the perfect option on Wednesdays. And I mean free food is always a plus, too. And I love coming out here and talking with everyone at the church,” Kuenzi said.
“Just to get to know some of these neighbors a little better than we have. To find some connections, for them to know a little bit more about Peace and what we do in the community, and for us to get to know them and what their hopes and dreams and what their needs are,” Marty said.