In the Spotlight: September 2023

September 12, 2023

A Sunday School teacher’s creativity is shining at Zion Lutheran Church in Naperville, and because of that imagination, this month the entire congregation is in the September spotlight! Dawn Bodine has been teaching Sunday school for 15 years. About a year ago, she was inspired to challenge her students to do something good for their community. It started out pretty simple. The kids brought in change to donate. That led to another challenge, and another one after that. You could say the monthly challenges went viral in the church because the congregation then decided they wanted in. “The kids decide the challenge, and the congregation takes over,” said Bodine. 

Breakfast for Champions Challenge

The kids have come up with a Breakfast for Champions Challenge. Challenging the congregation to bring in all breakfast items for the Aurora Food Pantry. The kids came up with a Cleaning Challenge, asking for cleaning supplies to donate. Next, a School Supply Challenge. The congregation brought in extra school supplies, all donated to the Aurora Food Pantry

School Supplies Challenge

“It’s not uncommon to hear the pastor say at the end of the service, don’t forget about the challenge from our Sunday School,” said Bodine. “Our congregation, we are so blessed. They just go for it.” 

Cleaning Challenge

Over the summer, the kids built a Giving Garden at the church. They planted zucchini, tomatoes, and more. The church donates the veggies to the pantry. “You see the kids get excited about this Giving Garden. It keeps us motivated and excited. What can we do next?” What the congregation did next was issue a challenge to raise $1200 for the pantry. “The congregation really stepped up,” said Bodine. “Two of our families did a matching challenge, and I think that put a fire in the congregation. So how much did the congregation raise? $4,790.00.  “The Aurora Food Pantry can turn that donation into about 26,000 meals for our neighbors that visit the pantry,” said Eddie Galvan, Program Director at the pantry. The church also donated about 900 pounds of food, providing even more meals.

Baby Shower Challenge

Why did the church choose to donate to the Aurora Food Pantry? Dawn is a volunteer at the pantry, but that wasn’t the deciding factor. The Sunday School class created a presentation showing how people in our community don’t have enough food to eat and how the need for food in the Aurora area is growing. The Aurora Food Pantry fed 163,589 people in the 2023 fiscal year. “Our generosity in helping our neighbors is always in thankful response to the love God has shown us first”. At the end of the day, we always have to give God the glory,” said Bodine.

You might be wondering, what’s next? What is the next challenge? The congregation is collecting Birthday Boxes, giving a box of goodies to children for their birthdays when their families visit the pantry. “I see no reason to stop,” said Bodine. There’s always a need. Our congregation feels blessed, and we want to pass it on to others.”