Campus ministry pantry to serve college students in Norfolk


The two winners in the young adult division of the Philanthropy Council of Northeast Nebraska’s youth contest were “Helpful Hygiene Hut” and “Bedtime Blanket, Book & Prayer Project.”cropped-NeLCM-logo.png

Helpful Hygiene Hut was submitted by the Nebraska Lutheran Campus Ministry of Norfolk (NeLCM).

The premise of the project is not new, they said. Hygiene pantries have been developed in other NeLCM communities and the local ministry wanted to bring one to Norfolk.

“Conversations with community partners helped us identify that the need was present to Norfolk as well,” they said.

The Helpful Hygiene Hut, to be located at St. John’s Lutheran Church, will provide college students and college-aged people — 18 to 22 year olds — with basic hygiene products to assist with every day needs and promote cleanliness and healthy living.

The first students to be targeted for the program are those who attend Northeast Community College, the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing Northern Division and Joseph’s College of Cosmetology.

“The difficulty for many college students to afford basic hygiene necessities is increasing,” they said. “Attending college can be expensive. While college loans and grants may help students cover housing expenses and meal plans, personal funds for other expenses, such as hygiene products, can be limited.”

A wide range of hygiene products will be stocked at the hut, including shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, detergents and paper products. Several organizations and church congregations also will hold hygiene drives to keep the hut stocked.

The goal of the project is to make Norfolk a healthier community.

“Providing hygiene products to college students who otherwise would go without them not only improves their physical health and well-being, but also can provide the dignity and self-esteem needed to go to school, get a job, keep a job and interact with others in the community,” they said.

If successful, they hope to be able to serve more than college students, they said.

Bedtime Blanket, Book & Prayer was created by Bethany Raabe and is a comfort package for children who have extended stays in hospitals.

“This project will serve toddlers and youths up to the age of 7, as well as their families,” she said. “They will receive comfort in a stressful, frightening time with a blanket for physical comfort, a story to read with family for intellectual distraction, as well as a prayer bookmark to fulfill spiritual needs during the stay and recovery at home.”

Raabe plans to purchase the fabric in February, and then make the first half of the blankets by April. The second half of the blankets will then be made from May to July. In August, the books will be purchased and paired with blankets. Plus, the bookmarks will be fabricated. The packages will then be distributed in September.

“I’m happy to give back to my community with this opportunity,” she said.


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