Concordia group hosted youths from diverse faith communities as they packed hygiene kits for the homeless.
Tables were piled with washcloths, toothpaste, soap and lotion as dozens of youth from local faith communities worked together packing toiletry kits for people who are homeless.
The event, which took place in the Knutson Campus Center's Centrum at Concordia, was created to fill two community needs – basic hygiene products for people in need and opportunities for faith communities to share a common goal.
“This puts a human face on other faiths,” says Dr. David Myers, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Projects based in Fargo. “It tends to reduce prejudices when people meet face to face.”
And most people, regardless of their faith or nonfaith background, have at least one thing in common – compassion. While many of these youth had never met each other before, they dove right in to sort the supplies. Each group had to bring a certain supply, so without each contribution the kits couldn’t have been made. Elbow-to-elbow nearly 100 people of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Baha’i and no religious tradition formed an assembly line to create 400 toiletry kits for others.
“It’s a unifying event for all,” says Sana Ali, who brought about a dozen students from the local mosque, the Islamic Society of Fargo-Moorhead. “It is good for these students to know there is a community outside the mosque. It’s important to do service for everybody.”
Better Together Interfaith Alliance, a Concordia student group dedicated to cultivating interfaith relationships on campus and in the community, organized the service project after the Rev. Bill Thompson of Lutheran Church of the Cross in West Fargo, N.D., along with other faith leaders, noted a need to bring students together. The toiletry kits were noted as a huge need for people staying in shelters. Judging by the students’ reactions to the project and the progress made, the idea proved to be successful.
“There is so much hope in this room,” says Better Together co-president Robyn Adams '16, Littleton, Colo. “I am so impressed by each of these students. They are truly an inspiration.”
Faith communities that participated through donations and/or assembly of the kits included:
Baha'i Community; Temple Beth-El Synagogue; Islamic Society of Fargo-Moorhead; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Moorhead; Lutheran Church of the Cross, West Fargo, N.D.; Our Savior Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, N.D.; First South Sudanese Lutheran Church, Fargo, N.D.; First United Methodist Church, Fargo. Concordia's Better Together Interfaith Alliance, the Center for Interfaith Projects and Concordia’s Forum on Faith and Life hosted the event.