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Perham church continues to reach out to people in need

About 25 years ago, Cindy Olson recognized a need in Perham. She was working as a speech therapist when she noticed some families did not have much furniture or items for their children or themselves. She took the initiative and spoke to the past...

Mattresses, bedframes, tables and chairs, and small dressers are some of the items that get donated to the Community Outreach Ministries.
Mattresses, bedframes, tables and chairs, and small dressers are some of the items that get donated to the Community Outreach Ministries. Kelsee Newton/FOCUS

About 25 years ago, Cindy Olson recognized a need in Perham. She was working as a speech therapist when she noticed some families did not have much furniture or items for their children or themselves. She took the initiative and spoke to the pastor at the Calvary Lutheran Church, she said.

"We started to ask for diapers and cleaning supplies, personal care items and then we started to fill up totes and distribute them to families, and it just grew," Olson said.

There is no paperwork or records kept. The group is a quiet network that has stayed out of the public eye over the years as they help the community in a discreet way. Olson feels this program is not only run by Calvary Lutheran Church, it's run by a community response. "Perham has done a really nice job of supporting that. You know that people can come here, get a job and get situated" Olson said. She also sends out notices to other churches about the Community Outreach Program, or spreads the information about the mission by word of mouth.

The low-key compassionate people who volunteer and donate prefer to stay in the shadows and quietly help the residents that may need help. The ministry helps people find beds, linens, furniture, dishes and other necessities needed when setting up a home.

Olson encouraged people to call Calvary Lutheran Church first to make arrangements to donate items or to volunteer, and if the outreach program does not have room the gifts, they ask that the items be donated to local thrift stores.

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The items that are donated to the Outreach program are given to people in need. Olson has helped people and families as far out as Sebeka, she said, adding the need for donations is evident throughout the around the area as well.

"We get many calls up and down U.S. Highway 10, so now we also have an Outreach in New York Mills and Wadena," Olson said.

Cindy Olson the coordinator for the Community Outreach Ministry sits on one of the couches that got donated to the community outreach program. Surrounding her is some more furniture items that got donated to the program.
Cindy Olson the coordinator for the Community Outreach Ministry sits on one of the couches that got donated to the community outreach program. Surrounding her is some more furniture items that got donated to the program. Kelsee Newton/FOCUS

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