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'Decorate A Sack' with MP Arts IMPACT at library

Goal to get 8k bags colored for Fellowship Cup's summer lunch program

GTNS photo by Grace King

Annie Guldberg, her son Thorsen Guldberg and her mother May Swarm decorate brown paper sacks together at the Mt. Pleasant Library on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The library will be hosting a table welcoming anyone to Decorate A Sack for the next month as a part of Mt. Pleasant Arts IMPACT’s project to get 8,000 paper sacks decorated for the Fellowship Cup’s summer lunch program.
GTNS photo by Grace King Annie Guldberg, her son Thorsen Guldberg and her mother May Swarm decorate brown paper sacks together at the Mt. Pleasant Library on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The library will be hosting a table welcoming anyone to Decorate A Sack for the next month as a part of Mt. Pleasant Arts IMPACT’s project to get 8,000 paper sacks decorated for the Fellowship Cup’s summer lunch program.
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The Mt. Pleasant Library is partnering with Mt. Pleasant Arts IMPACT with “Decorate A Sack” to help them reach their goal of coloring 8,000 brown paper bags for the Fellowship Cup’s summer lunch program.

“Decorate A Sack” will be at the library for the next month for anyone to come in and decorate a few paper bags. Arts IMPACT (Impacting Mt. Pleasant Arts and Culture Together) is a nonprofit organization established to support local artists.

The Fellowship Cup’s summer lunch program reaches about 170 kids in Henry County from June to August — that’s about 8,000 lunches each summer. While coloring a paper sack is something anyone can do, the project is something large-scale that will reach people throughout the county, said Annie Guldberg, with Arts IMPACT.

Food for the Fellowship Cup’s summer lunch program is provided by local donations and the Southeast Iowa Food Bank. Sack lunches are dropped off in Mt. Pleasant, New London and Salem.

There are 7,000 paper bags spread out across Henry County at schools, libraries and churches. Two-thousand bags have been colored and returned.

Annie still has 1,000 bags at her house. Anyone who would like to take home bags for their family or small group to color can contact Arts IMPACT or visit Mt. Pleasant Dental and Associates, where there is a pickup and drop-off center for bags and markers.

The brown paper bags were donated by Faith Lutheran Church. Markers were donated by Walmart.

The idea to decorate sacks was born out of Arts IMPACT attending the Iowa Arts Summit in Des Moines. The summit talked about connecting art with the needs of a community.

Annie said whether the bags are decorated with a knock-knock joke, inspirational message, stick figure drawing or something more creative, they can add color or a positive message to a child’s day.

“It’s something different to make them smile,” Annie said. “It’s a simple idea but a good way to involved different groups of people.”

Becca Hosford, youth services librarian, said that Decorate A Sack is a great program to have at the library.

Hosford said it will take the entire community for Arts IMPACT to meet their goal of 8,000 sacks decorated.

“I don’t know if (the library) will be able to do it all,” Hosford said.

Conan Guldberg, 5, ran up to the Decorate A Sack table and grabbed a marker. “This is only for kids,” he said to his grandmother.

“No, it’s not. It’s for everybody,” said May Swarm, Conan’s grandmother, as she began coloring alongside him, making her first bag into a puppet.

“Can I scribble all over it?” Bailey DeHart, 12, asked as she walked into the library on Wednesday.

Bailey said coloring paper bags was a great way to brighten someone’s day. Bailey comes to the library almost every day after school and plans to continue coloring bags to help Arts IMPACT reach their goal.

Talon DeHart, 8, was coloring in bubble letters on a paper bag that read “YUM.”

“I’m planning to do more than 20 so more people can get lunches,” Talon said.

Renay Doan was walking through the library with her daughter Ramira Doan, 6, when she asked if she could color a bag. Although Renay was in a hurry to be somewhere, they had time to color at least one.

“I know a lot of kids only meal they have is school lunch,” Renay said. “It’s great they have this going on in the summertime.”