We Care About Our Local Communities!

Whether it's through lending our neighbor a helping hand, assisting a local organization, or spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ around our communities, we strive to show our friends and neighbors what a relationship with Jesus Christ looks like and invite them on the journey with us.  After all, we care about the people we live and work with!  We hope to reach out to them in such a way that they become curious about what Jesus is all about and begin to seek a loving relationship with Him as a result.  Below are some of the community outreaches that the churches of the Driftless Regional Ministry take part in.  If you would like to become a part of what we are doing, feel free to reach out to us.

Bethel Butikk Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

The Bethel Butikk Food Pantry & Thrift Shop in Westby offers many low-income families in the area a helping hand in numerous ways.  The Westby UMC is a proud supporter of this important outreach ministry in our communities.  To find out more information on the Bethel Butikk Food Pantry & Thrift Shop and to learn how to get involved, please check out their website: http://westbybethelbutikk.com/.

Local Outreach Ministries - Christmas Food Baskets

Christmas Food Baskets of Love

Each year, the people of the Faith and Westby UMCs donate money to provide a Christmas dinner for several area families who are in need of a little Christmas cheer. The basket includes a complete dinner and is generally enough to feed a family of 4 to 5 people.  It is thanks to God’s blessing upon these congregations that the churches are able to spread His Love and the joy of Christmas to many of our neighbors in the area.

Local Outreach Ministries - Community Christmas Dinner

Community Christmas Dinner

For the past several years, the people of the New Hope & Retreat UMCs have been able to host a free community Christmas dinner at Prairie View Elementary School thanks to the contributions of an anonymous "Santa."  The event includes the dinner featuring delicious home-cooked food, a brief message to the children about the true reason for the Christmas season, and a gift for every child in attendance... handed to them by none other than Santa Claus himself!  It's a great event that brings the community together and shares with them the true meaning of Christmas!  It could not be done without the help of many volunteers.  If you would like to help out with this community outreach or if you want more information on the event, please reach out to us at newhope-umc@driftlessministry.org or retreat-umc@driftlessministry.org.

Door of Hope

Door of Hope is a Pregnancy & Family Care Center based in Viroqua, Wisconsin. They focus on guiding and helping women, couples and parents from Vernon, Monroe, Richland and Crawford counties in crisis pregnancies by offering education and support to help them in their time of need.  All of the churches in the Driftless Regional Ministry are happy to help Door of Hope in their important outreach ministry.  For more information on Door of Hope, check out their website at www.mydoorofhope.org/.

La Crosse Area Autism Foundation

The La Crosse Area Autism Foundation (LAF) "supports children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder by providing education, information and financial assistance to their families and relevant community service organizations."  With faith and determination they strive "to serve all the children, teens and adults in our area that are effected by autism."  The Westby UMC has chosen LAF as a "Mission of the Month" and continues to be a proud supporter of the organization.

New Hope Food Pantry

The New Hope & Retreat UMCs serve the local area through the outreach of the New Hope Food Pantry.  Housed in the basement of the New Hope UMC, the food pantry is open to anyone who is in need of food assistance in the greater De Soto, WI area.  The food pantry also offers people assistance in getting the help they need for other situations that they may be facing.  The churches support the pantry through volunteers and donations from various events held throughout the year.  To learn more about the New Hope Food Pantry, check out their page on our website or ask someone from the New Hope or Retreat UMCs.

Prairie View Elementary School - De Soto Area School District

The people of the New Hope & Retreat UMCs have a close connection with students and staff at Prairie View Elementary School - part of the De Soto Area School District.  When the school identifies a need, the churches are quick to respond.  Every fall, the people of New Hope collect school supplies to help the children excel in their education.  The church also collects articles of winter clothing to help keep the children warm during the cold winter months.  The people of the Retreat UMC have donated funds to help the school purchase library books for their classrooms and also to provide "milk money" to students so that every student will be able to have a nutritious drink with their lunch.  The churches have also donated nutritious snacks for low income students to take home through their "backpack program" through the New Hope Food Pantry.  The churches continue to assess the needs of the school and how they can help to show the students and staff the love of Jesus Christ.

Local Outreach Ministries - Retreat Community Breakfast

Retreat Community Breakfast

Several years ago, the Retreat UMC noticed that their neighbors in the community didn't really know one another.  To combat this realization, the church began hosting a free community breakfast, inviting everyone in the surrounding community and beyond to come together and enjoy a delicious and free meal while having a time of fellowship with their neighbors.  The event has been a big success and has helped to bring the community closer together.  In addition to the stronger community bonds, another unexpected benefit arose from the breakfasts.  Even though the meal is completely free, people still felt the desire to make a donation.  Since this was not the church's original intent, any donations are given to the New Hope Food Pantry.  In this way, our neighbors are helping our other neighbors in need.

Local Outreach Ministries - Retreat Crafters Group

Retreat Crafters Group

With a love of crafting in their hearts, this group from the Retreat UMC comes together throughout the year for days of crafting fun.  They bring together people from around the community and beyond to create beautiful works of various crafts.  The creations are then used to bless others in the community, whether through donations to benefit raffles, "fire quilts", welcome baskets, shut-in "thinking of you" gifts, so on and so forth.  The list goes on and on.  If you have a love, or even a beginners interest, of crafts and are interested in joining this group, feel free to contact us for more information at retreat-umc@driftlessministry.org.  You can also check our community calendar for the next group meeting to get involved!

Local Outreach Ministries - Stuff the Bus

Stuff the Bus!

Each summer, the people of the Westby UMC collect school supplies to contribute to the Vernon County Stuff the Bus campaign.  The Stuff the Bus drive helps provide school supplies and back packs to families, in Vernon county, who need assistance with obtaining these items for their children.  More information about the Stuff the Bus campaign can be found at the Vernon County website. If you want more information or are interested in getting involved in this ministry, please reach out to us at westby-umc@driftlessministry.org.

Local Outreach Ministries - Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School

Our Vacation Bible School programs invite children from around the region to come and learn about Christ and His sacrifice for us in a safe and fun environment each summer.  Each program is uniquely designed with fun themes and lessons that will bring children into a loving relationship with the Lord.  Head over to our Youth Growth page to learn more about our upcoming Vacation Bible School programs this summer.

Local Outreach Ministries - Welcome Baskets

Welcome Baskets

Moving to a new location can be exciting, but at the same time kind of scary.  Everything is new and you may not know anyone.  To help people ease the transition to the area, the Retreat UMC gives new neighbors a welcome basket to welcome them to the community.  The baskets are hand delivered by members of the church, allowing them to introduce themselves and giving the new neighbors someone that they can connect with in the area.  Not only does this ease the new neighbor's transition, it allows the church a means to invite them to local services and other events.