Curtis Moeckel, founder and director of the Shepherd’s In soup kitchen in Fairmont, was recently awarded the Community Impact Award by the Fairmont Women of Today. This award was created by the Fairmont Women of Today to recognize a person in our community what demonstrated outstanding positive contributions resulting in the improvement and enrichment in the lives of others, and doing this with integrity, service and joy in their work and philanthropy. Since there are many deserving individuals in the community, it is our desire to make this a yearly recognition for so that others may also be recognized for their service.
In September of 2018, Curt realized there were so many needy people in the community facing loss of home or employment that he felt compelled to do something about it. He said he prayed for guidance and used his own money to get a plan started and the idea of a soup kitchen was born. The program began as a small-scale operation offering homemade soups monthly. With help from other individuals and organizations, he began serving once a week, and then once a day, sometimes feeding up to 25 people. After COVID changed the ability to gather, he continued serving by delivering meals to homes.
The Fairmont Women to Today recognize Curt as a humble, caring person sympathetic to the basic needs of others. He is enthusiastic and demonstrates much joy in the hard work and success of the program. He does this out of love and concern for others. And finances much of the expenses out of his own pocket.
Congratulations, Curtis, on being our 2021 Community Impact Award recipient!
I am a lifelong learner and one of my joys is reading books. I enjoy gaining further insight on a variety of topics or just sitting back and relaxing over a good book. I also enjoy being able to engage with others and have discussions on common interests. I invited our organization to read The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell for a book club evening. The theme of the book is also one of Women of Today’s founding principles, building friendships. We had a wonderful evening of discussion and fellowship and may even have a few community service projects that come from it!
One of our newest members Sara Hugoson had a vision of
service and fun for the latest FWT project. Once again, the collaboration was
rewarding and successful as several members came together for plan and
execution. Crafty ideas and many helping hands made a “farm-themed” favorite
stop for about 500 or so Trick or Treaters and their families. The very windy
day made setting up the cardboard barn challenging, but the FWT problem solvers
made it happen! Within the first hour, 300+ treats had run out, but FWT
President Joanna was quick on the task to replace so no child was turned away.
Hy-Vee has donated to FWT past projects and the FWT group wanted to
give-back support for their “Trunk or Treat” project. Fairmont is
fortunate to have a Hy-Vee; and FWT applauds their success and service to our
The interaction with families during the event proved to be delightful and
rewarding too. Families of diverse backgrounds were greeted with smiles,
welcoming conversation and an Interactive Farm Display. The “Trunk or Treat”
project was a great way to serve local kids, demonstrate gratitude, build trust
and “cultivate” friendships within the Fairmont Women of Today circle of
members and beyond.
I’ve been asked before: Why do you like butterflies so much?
Looking at a butterfly we can see that it’s beautiful and delicate. What’s not
to like, right? But if we look more closely we can see a symbol of strength and
endurance. A butterfly doesn’t start out beautiful. It isn’t born with wings.
Instead, a butterfly starts out as an unassuming larva, a deceptively
unassuming caterpillar crawling along the ground. It eventually enters a
chrysalis, commonly called a cocoon. Inside that chrysalis the butterfly
undergoes an immense amount of change. If you compare a caterpillar and a
butterfly side-by-side it becomes apparent just how much change had to occur
for the final result to emerge. As humans we tend to fight change. We find it
frightening and, quite honestly, it’s often painful. And yet, even in the midst
of the hardest, most devastating changes in our lives, we can emerge stronger
and more beautiful on the other side. A butterfly to me is a reminder that not
all change is bad. Sometimes change transforms us in ways we couldn’t have
imagined. And sometimes we can even emerge buoyant and ready to take flight.
This year, the Fairmont Women of Today hosted a
new event. “Eve in the Orchard” was a night for women to leave all their cares
behind, laugh and have fun, make new friends, and leave newly inspired.
Our generous hosts for the evening were Gordy and Karen Toupal of Center Creek
Orchard. If you have not yet visited Center Creek Orchard, it’s an absolute
must! The picturesque apple orchard is just eight miles southeast of Fairmont,
off County Road 18. While you could spend all day picking the most perfectly crisp
apples off the over 500 apple trees, you may miss a few other fun things.
The women who attended “Eve in the Orchard” were able to participate in all of these activities, along with a few special event additions. Guests also enjoyed wine tasting, a photo scavenger hunt (with prizes), a meal, chair massages by Jessica Larson, horseback riding, and delicious fudge samples. If that wasn’t enough, attendees also learned a few Instant Pot skills as Sue Bay and Denise Lewison showed us how to whip up a mean pot of homemade applesauce. Furthermore, Dee’s Floral demonstrated how to craft a fall floral arrangement to add that perfect pop of color to any fall event.
The evening concluded with a special presentation from our guest speaker, Mandi Kosbab. Mandi shared some humorous and inspiring words of motivation and support. Her words left us feeling enlightened and encouraged to build ourselves and each other up.
Overall the event was deemed a success, and The Fairmont Women of Today continue to receive positive feedback from the attendees. We thank everyone who helped make the evening special and look forward to repeating this event next year. We can’t wait to see you…and a friend or two!
There are many things that bring me joy in my life so I had a hard time picking the event that I would like to do. Spending time with my husband is one of the things that brings me the most joy. He is my rock, my biggest supporter and my best friend. In honor of our anniversary in September, I decided to combine a few of my joys together and create a fun couples evening. We even invited our good friends as spending time with friends brings me joy. It was very enjoyable spending time with our spouses, good friends and getting to know one another. We had supper, a bonfire and a few drinks. I picked a fall evening as my favorite season is fall. It brings me joy to sit outside and enjoy the nice fall evenings sitting around a bonfire with the ones I love. Cooking also brings me joy so I made supper and snacks for everyone.
“When asked what brings me joy….
it’s nature! There is nothing more relaxing than being by water. We
are fortunate to live in a county that has so many lakes. I kayak
every Tuesday night with a group, and we go to a different lake each
week. It’s amazing to experience the peace that is found on the
water. I wanted to share my joy of kayaking with the wonderful Fairmont
Women of Today. For many of them, it was the first time they have
kayaked. Fears were conquered and with the help of each other, everyone
was able to get in and out of the kayaks and nobody capsized! It was a
team event with many laughs and memories made.”
For my women’s group, we were asked to share something with the group that brings us joy. It was fun to share my yoga practice by holding a yoga & wine night at FCF. Throughout the years, yoga has given me stress relief and a great balance to another joy of mine: CrossFit. I am also grateful for the ability to teach yoga and watch people grow in their physical journeys.