Habitat's St. Patrick’s dinner raises thousands

REED CITY — Happenings don’t just happen.Ask Linda Proefrock. She heads up the kitchen crew.

Ask her sons, Jason, and Jeff and Josh and their families and friends.

Ask Mary Lou Proefrock. She, as a board member, keeps track of the facts and figures.

Ask Habitat board members, and area church members. They provide the people-power, as do citizens throughout the area who are neither on the board nor members of a church.

Ask the people who provide the money to buy the vegetables or bring them by the bag-load to St. Paul‘s Lutheran Church in Reed City. Ask those men and women who stand as peelers and cutter-uppers at tables the day before the annual St. Patrick Day dinner. Ask them how it feels to tackle 40 cabbages or 75 pounds of carrots. Or deal with 30 pounds of rutabaga, peel 150 pounds of potatoes. Ask the stores that donate or provide food items and other needs at lower prices.

That’s just some of what goes into turning the annual Habitat for Humanity St. Patrick’s dinner into a great fund-raiser. That’s exactly some of what goes on to make sure another area family, the 11th, can move into a Habitat Home at Marion.

Not only do all those things happen, but still others volunteer to help set up tables and take them down, pretty them up, serve those seated at them, and those who deliver meals.

Jason Proefrock has had the chore of heading up the kitchen crew’s dish-washing brigade for years now. Someone commented about “how that young man never fails to keep ahead of the crowd.”

Each year, there is a bit of a glitch it seems. This year the kitchen crew returned to finish preparations early Saturday, and discovered the refrigerator at St. Paul’s apparently died during the night. All was well, nothing lost.

And then there are the blessings. This year the meal was sold out. That meant 275 sit-down meals. Forty more take-outs or home-delivered meals. Thrivent Financial gave $600 in matching funds. At least $480 was received as extra donations by those who undoubtedly tacked it on to that $7.50 paid per meal.

That totals an unofficial tally of $3,142.50.

That’s good news for the people who believe in Habitat and its outreach, those who already have homes, and those who will have because people care enough to put their caring into action.

Roger Elkins, new president of the Osceola Habitat for Humanity organization, shared conversation Saturday evening with his counterpart from Mecosta County’s Habitat for Humanity, Dee VanHorn.

They share a common dream, to provide affordable housing for those in need, and every indication Saturday night at St. Paul’s was that so does a large community of people, and they gave big to that common cause in so very many ways.