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St. Luke eighth-graders pick fields for charity

Eighth grade students John Senge, left, and Dominick Keck, from St. Luke Lutheran Church and School, pick corn on Thursday morning at Ambrose Farm Market. The corn will be distributed to Katie’s Kitchen in Butler, The Salvation Army in Butler, and The Lighthouse Foundation in Valencia. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

WINFIELD TWP — In the New International Version of the Bible, Leviticus 19:9-10 reads, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.”

The eighth grade class at St. Luke Lutheran School in Jefferson Township did exactly that on Thursday morning, as 14 students traded in the traditional three R’s for just one — reaping.

With the fall harvest approaching, the entire class of 14 students headed to one of the many fields at Ambrose Farm in Winfield Township to pick a variety of crops, including eggplants, sweet corn, tomatoes and peppers.

After the day, the pickings would be donated to several local charities, including the Salvation Army, Katie’s Kitchen, and the Lighthouse Foundation.

Katie’s Kitchen manager Justine Brown, estimated that Ambrose and St. Luke brought in 20-25 bushels of produce on Thursday afternoon — enough to share with four other churches in the area who serve their own community meals.

“Because we’re serving so many, we really need donations from the public to help continue,” Brown said. “Last night, I served 309 meals to people who were hungry.”

Katie’s Kitchen, which is located at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on Jefferson Street, is one of several church-related programs in Butler County which provide free meals for the hungry.

According to St. Luke school principal Angela Turner, the effort is a yearly tradition for students in eighth grade.

“As a Christian school, it’s important to us to carry out God's will,” Turner said. “The Ambrose farm has so willingly followed that as well, so that we can help others who are less fortunate than us.”

Early on in the project, Wes Ambrose, of the Ambrose Farm, led the St. Luke students through the intricacies of harvesting sweet corn and which ears of corn were the most desirable, in terms of color, size and consistency.

Students who took part in the service project were more than happy to get some physical activity on a nice day.

“It's been pretty good … very productive,” said student Maxx Lang. “And we’re just hopeful to help out people who are in need.”

“It’s more manual labor, but it’s enjoyable to be outside for once,” said Oliver Siemer.

Shortly after the gleaning was complete, the St. Luke’s class delivered their harvest to the three recipients of their bounty, including Katie’s Kitchen.

“It's important for us to teach the children to give back and to have a servant heart,” Turner said. “For us, that's worth taking the time away from academics, because we try to work with the children to educate them as wholes … not just academically, but spiritually and emotionally as well.”

According to Turner, gleaning the fields is not the only community service project performed by students at St. Luke School.

“We've helped the Rotary club with the planting of flowers in Butler,” Turner said. “We do the wreaths on the graves for Veterans Day. It depends on what becomes available for us to help with.”

Wes Ambrose, right, shows a group of eighth grade students from St. Luke Lutheran Church and School what to look for when picking corn on Thursday morning at Ambrose Farm Market. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle
Bushels of corn and tomatoes sit in the back of a pickup truck after eighth grade students from St. Luke Lutheran Church and School picked produce on Thursday morning at Ambrose Farm Market. The food will be distributed to Katie’s Kitchen in Butler, The Salvation Army in Butler, and The Lighthouse Foundation in Valencia. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle
A group of eighth grade students from St. Luke Lutheran Church and School helped pick produce on Thursday morning at Ambrose Farm Market that will be distributed to Katie’s Kitchen in Butler, The Salvation Army in Butler, and The Lighthouse Foundation in Valencia. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle
Jordyn Relihan, an eighth grade student from St. Luke Lutheran Church and School, picks tomatoes on Thursday morning at Ambrose Farm Market. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle
St. Luke Lutheran Church and School eighth-grader Maxx Long, left, hands Wes Ambrose a full bushel of corn on Thursday morning at Ambrose Farm Market. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle
Maci Boulanger, an eighth grade student from St. Luke Lutheran Church and School, picks tomatoes on Thursday morning at Ambrose Farm Market. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

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