Church Helps Community Have a Very Dairy Good Day
Don't miss any stories. Follow AG News!
Pastor Bob Adams and his wife, Tracy, founded Radiant in 2005. The church, which has an average attendance of 70 pre-COVID — 40 now attend in person, with the rest choosing to view online — wanted to do something for its community of roughly 6,000 people.
“I reached out to Convoy of Hope Rural Compassion in the beginning of August,” Adams says. “They connected me with a Prairie Farms Dairy representative in Dubuque, Iowa, who took my name and information and submitted my request.”
Adams says they were blessed to be chosen to receive a truckload of dairy items — he believes the distance may have played a part in being selected. Dubuque is about as close as a city can get to being in Wisconsin without actually being within its borders — it sits on the west bank of the Mississippi River, directly across the river from the southeast corner of Wisconsin, less than 200 miles away from Waupaca.
With the truck slated to arrive on Aug. 14, Adams quickly posted the event to social media and connected with the local radio station and newspaper, which shared the news of the free dairy giveaway. However, the truck was bringing 960 cases of dairy goods to distribute, which represents roughly one-third of Waupaca’s households.
“I lined up three pantries to take the overflow of dairy that I was expecting to have leftover,” Adams admits. And when the truck showed up with an extra 100 cases, his concern only grew.
Each of the pre-packaged cases came with two gallons of milk, bottles of flavored milk, cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, and French onion dip — a lot of dairy! But for the most part, Wisconsinites love their dairy — the state is known as America’s Dairyland and Green Bay Packers fans identify as “cheeseheads” for a reason.
“The event was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.,” Adams says. “By 8:30, there were already about 200 cars lined up . . . the police later told me that the line at one time reached roughly 500 cars!”
Fourteen volunteers — both from the church and the community — unloaded and distributed the cases while wearing masks. People remained in their vehicles in a drive-thru fashion while the volunteers placed the cases in car trunks or truck beds.
Kevin Gardner, who attends Radiant, headed up the logistics of the giveaway with his 10-year-old grandson, Orryon Capelle, helping set up cones and keeping traffic as orderly as possible. Gardner works for Pfefferle Management, which donated the use of the parking lot of a large local retailer (that had gone out of business) for the event. He also worked with a rental company to obtain a forklift, pallet jack, and tents to keep the cases of dairy product out of the sun.
And by about 1 p.m. a stunned Adams was looking at 25 empty pallets and an empty truck. “At least we only had to turn three or four cars away at the end,” he says.
“We had overwhelmingly positive feedback for the event,” Adams says, and then says with a smile in his voice, “though we did hear one person complained to the police about having trouble getting into a restaurant parking lot due to the line of cars.”
Gardner still speaks of the event with relish. “It was a great project, a lot of fun, and I’d love to do it again,” he says. “The whole community was grateful — even the one real grumpy guy in the parking lot, when he left, he was happy.”
The church has received plenty of letters and online posts expressing appreciation, and Adams feels confident that hundreds and hundreds of households in and around Waupaca were truly blessed by this tangible demonstration of God’s love and compassion.
Whether or not Radiant Fellowship sees any new faces in the future due to the outreach is yet to be seen, but either way, the church has definitely left a “dairy good” impression on a significant percentage of its community.