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Rhinelander church packs up hurricane supplies collected over one monthSubmitted: 10/18/2017
RHINELANDER - Dixie Mathews doesn't have the biggest frame or biggest car, but her heart and trunk are full of love this week.

"This is just part of who we are," Mathews said.

Wednesday morning, Mathews and a handful of First United Methodist church members loaded up cleaning supplies and personal items into the back of her SUV in Rhinelander.  Dixie and the supplies are headed for a relief item distribution center in central Illinois.

"I inadvertently said, 'If we don't find anybody else, I will take it down," Mathews said, with a smile. "And now it's happened."

The church started collecting donations for hurricane victims about a month ago. Members and people around Rhinelander piled the supplies in the church's entryway.

"Just [seeing] the deprivation and the helplessness of people and we have so much, there is just no reason why we can't share," Mathews said.

Church members weighed the items to make sure they wouldn't go over Mathews' car's capacity. The church ended up with nearly 700 pounds of goods.

"I think it was a little light, actually," pastor Keith Wolf said. "I'm going to put out a challenge to the community that the next time, hopefully we can get a little more."

But financial donations came in too. Wolf says the church will write the distribution center a $600 check.

"There's no shortage of resources when you really start asking," Wolf said. "There is a better nature in everyone and if we just give them an opportunity and the right environment, that will come out."

Now, those resources will help people in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, all from a community and congregation that are joining a bigger cause.

"We care for people because we're all god's people and that's where we need to be," Mathews said.

Mathews will leave Rhinelander at 6 a.m. Thursday for Illinois. She'll stay with her son in Bloomington before driving the supplies the final 75 miles to Chatham.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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