Normally, food collection at Timothy Lutheran Church happens naturally as people gather for weekly services.

They would bring their non-perishable food items and some household supplies to be donated to the less fortunate in the Blue Springs church’s ongoing charity efforts.

Timothy Lutheran sponsors an apartment and its residents for Hillcrest Transitional Housing, contributes goods to the Community Services League and every few months takes its food collection to the Jesus El Buen Lutheran Church in Kansas City. Pre-pandemic, church members would also serve prepared meals to some residents at a north-side motel in Blue Springs.

Now, with no in-person services, food collection still hasn’t waned, Nancy Nowiszewski said.

Church members conducted a “drive-in and drop-off” the first Saturday in May for its Hillcrest apartment, delivering goods that same day, and some of the collection went a few days later to motel residents.

The church made its first goods donation there a couple weeks earlier in April, after pandemic restrictions halted serving fresh meals on site. The food for motel residents is packaged items that require just simple preparation like a microwave.

“We started it because of the whole isolation thing,” Nowiszewski said. “A lot of people who come through there don’t have a car to go get food.”

“The first time we did the hotel distribution, it was mostly funded by two members, when another member heard they donated, it grew from there this month because we had people come to park and pick-up. I think what we’ll end up doing is making that a once-a-month donation to the people there. We’re looking at other ways to (donate) as well, as long as we have packaged items.”

Another charitable effort in the church that took off is sewing face masks and caps for residents at St. Mary’s Village assisted living and area hospitals. Timothy’s Lutheran Women’s Missionary League took on that task.

“One of our retired pastors makes visits to St. Mary’s Village, and now that he can’t visit he wondered, what can we do to help,” Nowiszewski said.

The women made about 180 face masks for residents and patients, she said, and now the masks they make will be available for church members when in-person services eventually resume.