Snapshots of community spirit

If you drive along Main Street in downtown Marshalltown, or better yet walk along on either side of Main Street, you can’t help but notice the hanging flower baskets and carefully crafted plants located at nearly every corner. The work is beautiful and it clearly brightens our downtown area.

But this effort in beautifying Marshalltown doesn’t just happen. It takes hours and hours of volunteer work as well as cash donations to keep downtown blooming.

The same can be said for numerous events and community efforts that enhance Marshalltown and every other town in the area.

Whether it’s the recent 13th Street District renovation efforts and celebration, a donation by a Marshalltown couple to encourage the acquisition of body cameras for the Marshalltown Police Department, or the hundreds of volunteers and cash donations from businesses and individuals to coordinate events like the State Center Rose Festival or Conrad’s Black Dirt Days, these things just don’t happen.

At last weekend’s child care seat safety event, jointly sponsored by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the MPD, new car seats were purchased because of donations from a local city council member and three insurance agents. Law enforcement officers volunteered their time to adjust car seats or install new ones.

It’s that type of community spirit and dedication which enhances our quality of life here in central Iowa. It is, in part, what makes living here worthwhile.

But many of us take it for granted – somehow forgetting that these things do not happen by chance.

This summer, I’ve been volunteering with the Munch and More program – a chance for youngsters to eat a healthy lunch while encouraging them to continue reading over their summer break.

Most of us now understand that a great deal of what a child learns over the course of the school year is lost during their three months out of school. Programs like Munch and More work to bridge that gap and volunteer time is crucial if these programs are to succeed.

For me, it’s just a handful of hours. For the kids, it’s an enhanced opportunity to keep learning and to be successful.

But all these endeavors cannot succeed without you and me. Whether it’s volunteering your time to plant flowers, to man the food booth at a community festival or to make a small donation to a worthy cause, we all have certain skills and gifts that we can contribute.

Doing nothing yields nothing.

But doing something yields so much more.

Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or