Going the extra mile: Minnesota retiree assembles more than 100,000 LWR School Kits

Some retirees golf; some travel. Werner makes School Kits.

These were the words of Pastor Jay Dahlvang, Lead Pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minnesota, at a special event honoring church member Werner Fick. Werner has assembled more than 100,000 School Kits for Lutheran World Relief.

Werner Fick receives his certificate of appreciation from LWR’s Rev. Lisa Kipp (L) and Beatrice Cork (R) after making 100,000 LWR School Kits.

"Education is really one of the most important tools that a community has to break the cycle of poverty," Pastor Dahlvang continued. "In some parts of the world, a lack of school supplies can lead to a loss of education. Some kids will not go to school if they don’t have school supplies. When Werner heard this, he decided to do something himself."

As we go forward, let us dream big, be bold in our efforts, be gracious, be generous, lead with love and never forget to say thank you.

– Werner Fick

What started out as a small-scale service project some 13 years ago when Werner retired has grown into quite a professional operation. He estimates he spends three to four hours a day, six days a week, on his School Kit ministry: bulk-buying supplies, assembling kits, recruiting helpers and making deliveries to the LWR warehouse in Minnesota. Werner purchases nearly all the supplies himself, taking advantage of bulk purchasing during back-to-school sales.

Celebrating Werner Fick and his 100,000 LWR School Kits.

He splits his time between Mankato, Minnesota, and Kalona, Iowa, where his son lives. His enthusiasm is contagious. Werner has friends and helpers in both towns who pitch in on a regular basis. While in Iowa, he once recruited members of the adult Vacation Bible School at Zion Lutheran Church to assemble about 500 kits in a week.

Werner is quick to turn the attention to the children around the world who benefit from his work. Standing next to a photo of a young girl from Central America who had received an LWR School Kit, Werner broke down in tears. "The girl in the picture is probably six or seven years old," he said. "It might be the first time she gets a School Kit. And the picture on that poster inspires me every day."

Werner Fick standing in front of his source of inspiration, a child from Central America. 

In addition to his labor of love assembling School Kits for children around the world, Werner is also a generous donor to Lutheran World Relief and has identified LWR as a recipient in his will, ensuring his legacy of love will continue.