B-day food fills pantryMadelyn Hogue’s birthday wish came true. The 5-year-old didn’t want Barbies or tea sets. She wasn’t pining for the latest video game or sparkling shoes. When she held her birthday party April 14, the Superior girl wanted food, enough to feed 102 people.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Madelyn Hogue’s birthday wish came true. The 5-year-old didn’t want Barbies or tea sets. She wasn’t pining for the latest video game or sparkling shoes. When she held her birthday party April 14, the Superior girl wanted food, enough to feed 102 people.
She got her wish. Family and friends who came to her Twin Ports Gymnastics party to tumble and play brought bags of groceries for the food shelf at Central Assembly of God Church. The day after the party, Madelyn and her family drove up to the church with two truckloads of food – 350 items in all. It was, said food shelf coordinator Patty Helfenstein, the largest single donation of food they have ever received.
“We all were blessed,” Helfenstein said, and the 5-year-old was ecstatic. “She was just beaming. She told me ‘I’m going to feed hundreds.’”
“It was such a wonderful thing she did,” said Rhonda Horyza, administrative assistant for the church. “She made an impression on all the adults and children there.”
Madelyn’s mother, Melanie Hogue, was the one who came up with the idea. Twenty children attended her daughter’s fourth birthday party, also at Twin Ports Gymnastics. And the family was overwhelmed with presents. By the time Madelyn was opening the last packages, Hogue said, it wasn’t even fun anymore.
“When we got home and brought everything inside, I wasn’t sure where to put it all,” she said. This year, she decided, would be different. She asked Madelyn to consider having friends bring something other than gifts and they discussed different ideas, such as donating books or clothes.
“When we said the food shelf, her voice changed,” Hogue said. “She was really excited about that.”
Madelyn’s invitations featured a picture of her in the church’s food shelf room and the words “donate food for Maddie’s church” on them.
“We were talking about how many people she would be helping and her response to me was ‘I hope we can feed hundreds for my birthday!’” Hogue said. “That is when I knew she got it! She was so excited to help others.”
The Superior girl said she didn’t miss all the presents.
“Cause I already have lots and lots of toys,” she said, and she wanted “to help people that don’t have food.”
Central Assembly of God’s food shelf has been in operation for more than 10 years. In 2011, the church fed 900 people, handing out nearly 400 bags of groceries.
“We have a very, very active food shelf here at church,” Horyza said.
As she prepared for the party, Hogue said, Madelyn kept saying that she wanted to feed “102” people.
“I think it’s great at 5 that she could grasp the concept of helping others,” Hogue said.
Monday, Madelyn recalled the fun of the party – somersaulting down the trampoline and jumping into the pit filled with foam blocks. She also recalled the look of shock on Pastor Tom Miller’s face when they pulled up with the donated food and bringing the bags into the church.
“The heavy ones I just dragged and the last heaviest one I pulled as hard as I can,” she said.
They kept Helfenstein busy, her mother said.
“Counting all that food,” Madelyn said.
Madelyn is already looking ahead to her sixth birthday party. She told her mom Monday she wanted to collect 29 pairs of shoes for people who don’t have them.
The 5-year-old’s food donation caught Central Assembly of God at the perfect time. The church is one of a number of food shelves in the area taking part in the Feinstein Foundation’s $1 million giveaway to fight hunger challenge. The foundation matches a portion of the funds and food donated to food shelves throughout the nation during March and April. Last year, Central Assembly received $260 from the foundation. Any donations through April 30 are eligible for the matching funds.
Central Assembly of God’s food shelf is open to the public from 1-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the church, 3000 Hammond Ave. More information about the church is available on the website, http://cagsuperior.org/.
To learn more about the Feinstein Foundation, check out their website, www.feinsteinfoundation.org