TeamMates give back by helping Goodfellows

Laura Beahm/Tribune
Kelsey Wissing sorts toys into boxes for Goodfellows families
Wednesday night at the Adams County Fairgrounds.

Proudly wearing matching red T-shirts, a group of nearly 20 volunteers with the TeamMates program in Hastings gave their time to the Goodfellows program Wednesday.

"It's something we wanted to do as a community service project to give back to the community," said John Northrop, vice president of the TeamMates board for the Hastings chapter.

In past years, the board has helped some with packing the boxes. Primarily they have tried to help with the delivery on Saturday, something Northrop always has enjoyed.

"The times I've been out here it has been bitterly cold on Saturday, but it goes very fast, especially because you had people stop to pick up on Friday," he said. "It used to be an all-morning event. It's fun, and it's a great cause."

On Wednesday, TeamMates volunteers helped to pack the rest of the food into the boxes for families in the community. Items packed Wednesday included cake mixes, boxed meals and gravy mix.

Hastings Police Chief Pete Kortum and his wife, Mary, have only been involved in the TeamMates program for a month and they were eager to get involved in Wednesday's service project.

"It went quick," Kortum said with a laugh about packing the boxes.

While they were both amazed by how quickly the process went, they were more surprised by the organization behind the amount of food given to each family.

After all of the food was inside the boxes, the TeamMates group stayed longer to help put toys inside boxes for families with young children. It turned out to be the highlight of the evening for most who helped distribute the toys.

Each volunteer was given a slip of paper with the gender and age of a child and asked to pick out a few gifts for that child and place those gifts inside numbered box designated for that child's family.

"This is so much fun," said Kelsey Wissing, a TeamMates volunteer, as she picked out toys.
Wissing, who has been involved with the TeamMates program for about two years, said she enjoys being able to give back.

In addition to her work with TeamMates, Wissing also serves on the board for The Salvation Army in Hastings and Tuesday she was able to help out with the Toy Town event.

"I just like to give back to the community and be there for those in need," she said. "I feel fortunate for what I have."

To read more, see Thursday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>>

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