#m2tc | Pancake Brunch Raises Money for Operation Christmas Child

A Downtown Community Group serves pancakes Sunday to raise money for Operation Christmas Child.

As a fundraiser for Operation Christmas Child, a Mission to the City group served a pancake brunch after church on Sunday, May 24 at the Downtown location. The money raised – nearly $500 – will go toward the church’s annual Christmas in July event on July 31. This year, the goal for Christmas in July is to raise $7,000 and pack 2,000 shoeboxes with gifts for children in impoverished countries with little or no access to the gospel.

“The pancake brunch is a great way to serve families from the Sunday morning service as well as other Mission to the City groups looking for an easy way to eat lunch together,” said Brett Stewart, one of the organizers of the event. “Plus, the money raised goes to a great cause, and who doesn’t love pancakes?”

The leftover pancakes, syrup, and butter were donated to Bethel Mission, an emergency shelter for homeless men, and also taken to a homeless camp in Des Moines.

Before church on Sunday, the group met at 7 a.m. at Walnut Creek Windsor Heights to start mixing batter and flipping pancakes. They filled seven roasters full of pancakes, which they hauled downtown before church. Immediately following the service, the group set up a serving line in front of the stage and also plugged in griddles to keep flipping pancakes.

They served plain and chocolate chip pancakes with butter, syrup, and peanut butter. They also offered lemonade, coffee, and water. The cost was $5 per plate for all-you-can-eat pancakes, and kids ate for free.

Mark your calendars for Christmas in July on July 31, and begin collecting new and gently used toys, school supplies, and hygiene items for the gift boxes.

By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown

#m2tc | Teams Play "Buddy" Baseball at the Kiwanis Miracle League

Teams "buddied" up with kids at the Kiwanis Miracle League for a day of baseball. Photo by: Faith Crane

Multiple Walnut Creek Church teams spent day two of Mission to the City serving the Kiwanis Miracle League, an organization devoted to giving children with special needs a place to enjoy America’s greatest pastime.

Each member was “buddied” with a child and assisted in a friendly game of baseball. Unlike your average little league, competition is minimal. Every participant gets the opportunity to bat, run, and score; and each game ends in a tie. Participants had varying degrees of functionality, so members served by helping with coordination, running or standing alongside children, helping participants to hold their bat or glove, and pushing children bound to wheelchairs around each base.

Downtown Community Group leader Zachariah Saari enjoyed seeing all of the encouragement just one game could bring to so many children.

“You could actually see kids light up and get super excited about it,” he said. “The whole experience was really good because people cheered for each other. Everyone won; everyone got a hit, everyone got to run through all the bases. It was really coordinated well to where everyone got the best feeling of playing baseball.

“Some kids couldn’t communicate, so you had to try to point at things, laugh, and smile, but everyone had a good idea how it worked," Zachariah said. “Some of the kids had been doing it for a long time.”

Travis Grandgeorge of Walnut Creek Downtown said the time spent with the children was a great way of living out the Gospel and investing in people that don’t know Christ by showing them that there are people out there who will love them.

“My favorite part was just seeing how the kids reacted to the game, to us being there,” Travis said. "And just all the encouragement they showed each other, and even the encouragement we were able to show them, and to see them absorb that.” 

Follow what's happening during Mission to the City at m2tc.com

By Noelle Thompson
Walnut Creek Downtown

#m2tc | 5,400 Meals Packaged for Families In Central Iowa

A Walnut Creek Windsor Heights team packages 5,400 meals for Meals From the Heartland during M2TC.

In a little under two hours, a team from Walnut Creek Windsor Heights packaged 5,400 macaroni and cheese meals with the organization Meals From the Heartland. Teams from Mission to the City have served here in previous years packing meals as well.

Meals From the Heartland is a nonprofit based in Des Moines that empowers people to help the starving around the world, in the United States, and in central Iowa. In 2014 the organization packaged 10,658,144 meals. Their 2015 goal is 15 million meals. They rely largely on the help of volunteers from churches, businesses, and organizations.

The meals packaged by the M2TC team will be sent to families in central Iowa through local food banks and school programs. In addition to packaging meals, the team helped landscape the property and clean and sanitize the packaging facility.

By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

#m2tc | It's Fun to Stay at the YMCA

Chris Meyer of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights paints the YMCA gym during M2TC Friday afternoon.

To begin the Mission to the City weekend, two groups from Walnut Creek Windsor Heights spent Friday morning and afternoon serving their local Walnut Creek YMCA with some much needed renewal and repair.

More than 25 M2TC volunteers donned their painting clothes and touched up the walls in several rooms, as well as the curbs, lines, and crosswalks in the entire parking lot.

“I want this to be a family-friendly environment where people feel comfortable, that it’s kind of a home-away-from-home for them,” said Britt German, YMCA executive director.

The maintenance manager, Kevin Morrill, put the volunteers to hard work. Kevin is one of eight people who solve maintenance issues for 14 YMCAs in the greater Des Moines area. Since Kevin and the others are spread so thin, they do not usually have time to remove scuffs, organize closets, or paint the gymnasium.

“I’m impressed by everyone’s motivation to go the extra mile. They work quickly without having to be told what to do more than once,” said Kevin. “Members of the YMCA are going to notice the changes and love it, I guarantee it.”

By Brigitte Haugen 
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Iowa Christian Academy Groundbreaking Ceremony

Iowa Christian Academy break ground on their new facility at Jordan Park Camp.

Walnut Creek is partnering with ICA on the project, leasing 5 acres to ICA to construct the facility. 

Iowa Christian Academy To Break Ground at Jordan Park Camp

Iowa Christian Academy will begin construction on their new facility at Jordan Park Camp. 

Iowa Christian Academy will break ground on their new facility at Jordan Park Camp in West Des Moines next Thursday. Walnut Creek partnered with ICA on the project, leasing five acres of the camp for the construction of the gym.

“ICA has been deeply blessed throughout its short history, and we are grateful to the leadership of Walnut Creek Church for helping this long-held dream come true,” said Scott Kolb, ICA Board Chair. “This is yet another blessing that will help the mission of the school in developing leaders committed to Christ.”

Phase One of the project includes the construction of the gym. Phase Two will include the construction of high school classrooms, with Phase Three involving the remodeling of the current ICA facility on Vine Street to accommodate more elementary students.

“When people from different Christian communities work together for a common good, it is a powerful testimony of Christ's love. Walnut Creek Church is delighted to work with Iowa Christian Academy, such an outstanding Christian school, in seeing this beautiful facility built,” said Pastor Tim Rude.

Founded in 1999, Iowa Christian Academy is a private, nondenominational Christian school for preschool students through 12th grade.

ICA will hold a groundbreaking ceremony and prayer on Thursday, May 14 at 6 p.m. at Jordan Park Camp. The event is open to the public.

By Jackie Wallentin 
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights