Snapshots of community spirit

Last year I remarked that driving along downtown Main Street in downtown Marshalltown, what a beautiful sight it was to see the hanging flower baskets and the carefully crafted plants located at nearly every corner. The work was beautiful and it clearly brightened our downtown area.

Again in 2016, that effort has been put forth and our Main Street continues to shines.

Of course, those efforts 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 efforts by volunteers and organizers of the Blessing of the Bikes event which yielded thousands of dollars in donations to different organizations, or the students who cleaned tombstones at the cemetery or planted trees, these things do not happen magically.

Take for instance the hundreds of donations of food items during the Marshalltown Police Department’s “Arresting Hunger” event or the school district employees who voluntarily washed several American flags prior to the Memorial Day ceremony at Riverside Cemetery. 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.

Last summer, I volunteered 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 was just a handful of hours. For the kids, it was an enhanced opportunity to keep learning and to be successful.

But all of 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