KREAMER — Pulling off the free community picnic held Sunday at the Middlecreek Township Recreation Grounds turned out to be a real cake walk — and games, music, giveaways and food.
Most of all, it was a chance for the community to get together and help others in need, such as former Wood-Mode workers, who were laid off in May without warning. Only some recently returned to work there under a new owner.
The congregations of the Middle Creek Conference in the Upper Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), sponsored the picnic to coincide with the ELCA’s annual “God’s Work. Our Hands” initiative held Sunday throughout the country.
"We are doing this together as a conference," said Pastor Stina Schaeffer, of Salem Lutheran Church in Selinsgrove, who also is dean of the conference. "We just joined together to show God's love and share it with the community."
She said the idea for a community picnic originated with Pastor Vickie Brown of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Kreamer. Nine ELCA churches throughout Snyder County got together to put on the picnic.
"With Wood-Mode closing and so many different things going on, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to gather together to have some fun and fellowship to benefit the community, as well as the other congregations," Brown said.
Brown estimated that more than 200 people turned out during the 3 1/2 hours of festivities, which included a cake walk (participants walked in a circle to music as they passed a small American flag, and whoever was holding the flag when the music stopped won a cake). Of course, the picnic included hotdogs, macaroni salad and other picnic fixins', as well as clothing and food giveaways.
KJ played guitar and sang, and the Kreamer Fire Company provided fire truck rides.
"This is happening throughout the entire United States today," Brown said.
Members of the Milton Lutheran Parish, made up of Trinity and Christ Evangelical Lutheran Churches, planned to serve a noon picnic meal to the residents of the Milton Towers and Centre Town Apartments. ELCA members in Bloomsburg were picking up trash in the downtown.
"I think it's wonderful, I think it's absolutely wonderful, meeting new people, having a fun time together," said volunteer Linda Bussey of Zion Lutheran Church in Kratzerville.
"I heard about it and decided to come," said Nancy Morgan, of Mifflinburg, who added she especially liked that the churches were reaching out to former Wood-Mode workers.
Two of those Wood-Mode workers, who now are back working for the new owner, volunteered for the picnic.
Scott Sprenkle, 55, who returned a couple of weeks ago, and his brother-in-law, Keith Aucker, 65, both of Kreamer, scheduled to return today, were grilling hotdogs.
"It's a positive thing," Aucker said. "They're trying to help people out that are less fortunate with socks, food."
He said those items were given away to anyone who wanted them.
"Not just workers, it's for all who are needy," Aucker added.