Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Celebrating Faribault’s holiday generosity December 12, 2019

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


I’VE WRITTEN THIS BEFORE, but I’ll repeat it. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.

Example: Randy and I visited some older folks last Sunday afternoon, delivering poinsettias as part of a shut-in outreach at our church, Trinity Lutheran. We talked everything from art to farming. We remembered, laughed, delighted in the conversations which took two hours out of our day. Two hours. Time is a gift. We gave it and experienced the joy that comes in connecting with those who can’t get out and about like they once did.

This coming Sunday afternoon we’ll gather with friends to wrap a whole lot of gifts for individuals and families in need through Trinity’s Angel Tree Project. My friend Mike heads that annual endeavor and tells us we have more gifts than ever to wrap. The need is great. But so is the generosity of those who each December amaze us with the items they purchase for Angel Tree gift recipients. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.


A Community Christmas Dinner sign banners the front of Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church, Faribault.


Another Faribault church, Fourth Avenue United Methodist, is also giving back to the community this Sunday with its annual free Community Christmas Dinner. We’ve attended numerous times, delighting in the company of other guests and of this friendly congregation. A dinner of chicken breast, meatballs, King Hawaiian stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, candied carrots, dinner rolls and cupcakes will be served from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the church basement.


Another giving and embracing message posted outside Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church. Love this.


But Fourth Avenue United Methodist is doing more than serving food. A free-will offering at the dinner will go toward Believet Canine Service Partners, a Northfield-based nonprofit which provides service dogs to disabled veterans at no charge. Since 2015, Believet has paired 12 dogs with vets. Cost to train and place a single service dog is approximately $28,000, according to the Believet website. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.


Inside the historic Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


Also this weekend, the Faribault-based choral ensemble Beau Chant (French for “Beautiful Singing”) presents two holiday concerts in Faribault. They will perform “Tis the Season” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14, in Newhall Auditorium at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School and at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 15, at the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour. Cost is $12. When I consider the time these singers commit to practicing and then performing during the busy holiday season, I realize that this, too, is a gift. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.


A streetscape shot along Central Avenue shows the restored marquee at the historic Paradise Center for the Arts. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo December 2019.


And, finally, the Faribault Area Community Band gives a free hour-long holiday concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, December 15, at the Paradise Center for the Arts. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me how you, or others in your community, are giving back this holiday season.


NOTE: I have highlighted here only a few of the many ways individuals and organizations in my community are giving to others during this holiday season.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Celebrating Faribault’s holiday generosity”

  1. The best gift is the giving of your time. We support the local veterans including one family member actively serving (it is his birthday tomorrow). We also support the local business owners in supporting them and shopping local all year long, especially during the holidays. The organization I work for is community-based and we enjoy the work we do in the community. Another favorite of mine is welcoming others to gather with us for a meal. We have become each other’s families and take care and support one another. I always have extra tables and chairs on hand as well as plenty of food to go around. Some how you tell people to just bring themselves and then end up with more food that they bring along. Especially when the food is home made or brings out a story or memory as to why they brought a certain food item. Love that! Be Blessed – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂


    Our community has an Angel Tree project directed to teens. There is also another project focusing on younger children but it seemed there was a need for something special for teens. The school’s social worker puts together tags listing age, gender, interests and needs, favorite colors, sizes, etc. Individuals, churches or groups pick up the tags at a local business, purchase the items and deliver back to the business. It is astonishing to see what the teens ask for. Often, it is the basics of a winter coat, shoes, gloves or a hat. They are encouraged to also list some fun things. When working with this, we try to meet the basics but also include a “want” as well. Interestingly, there seems to be more teen boys in need than girls. That would be a question to ask the social worker.

    • It’s interesting that you made that comment about teen boys. Mike, the organizer of our Angel Tree Project, asked if I had any gift ideas for teen boys. Hmmmm. Nope, I don’t. It’s a difficult age in so many ways.

      Thank you to your community for its Angel Tree Project. Such giving hearts…

      • I have three nephews and have made donations for teenage boys. Done bikes, skateboards, basketballs, soccer balls, and gift cards. Warm Pullovers/Hoodies and backpacks/gym bags are good ideas too. My spouse has done beanies too. Something as simple as a toothbrush, toothpaste, hair gel, etc. Notebooks, graph paper, drawing book, pencils, pens, etc.

      • Thank you for those specific suggestions for teen boys.

  3. I think that kindness, at any time, goes a long way in our society. I try to remember that and do at least one kind thing every day. 🙂 ❤

  4. Beautiful. I love the message in front of the church. Republicans at the impeachment called those that live on the country’s coast, “coastal elites”. That people who love in these states do not understand the people who live in the middle of the country. I was so taken back by this. We are all one nation. We are all one people. We can all learn from each other. Kindness, compassion, empathy. Help those that cannot help themselves. Bless you, Randy, your family. Everyone.

    • I love that message at the church also.

      Unfortunately, those perceptions exist regarding different parts of the country. I admit that I, as a Midwest resident, have often felt our region of the country is overlooked and considered fly-over land. Bottom line, as you state, is that we are all just people. And, yes, kindness, compassion and empathy exist everywhere, no matter where you live.

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