Luther Memorial Church Rep & Benefit Fashion Show Coordinator
A long-time member of Luther Memorial Church in South St. Paul, Kristy Oberpriller has been involved with Neighbors since a young age through her church. Her mother was very active with their church and its community volunteer initiatives, usually bringing Kristy along with her. Kristy remembers when the halls of Luther Memorial were lined with food donations for the Neighbors’ holiday gift and food distribution in the mid-1970’s. She also remembers attending benefit events to raise money for Neighbors. Thanks to her mother’s influence, Kristy always knew she wanted to continue the tradition of giving back to her community.
Fast forward several years and Kristy became a volunteer Church Rep responsible for acting as a partner liaison between Luther Memorial and Neighbors. Some of her duties included promoting church food and fund drives, dropping off donations to Neighbors from the church and sharing information about the services and programs offered at Neighbors with her congregation. Church Rep volunteers attend several meetings throughout the year to stay connected. In Kristy’s opinion, one of the biggest benefits Neighbors provides to the faith community is to be a trusted resource for churches to send people in need to for help.
Kristy’s connection to Neighbors led her to organize several benefit fashion shows at Luther Memorial Church in the mid-2010’s. With the help of a committee and dedicated volunteers, Kristy’s fashion shows featured lunch, festive decor, volunteer models wearing clothing and accessories from the Clothes Closet, engaging emcees and a small boutique afterwards where items featured in the show could be purchased. Thanks to grant funding through Thrivent, proceeds from ticket sales were given to Neighbors along with additional donations and merchandise sales. The event sparked participation from all ages with many participants returning each year. Typically held in the Fall, Kristy fondly remembers Halloween costumes being a popular item for kids to model. Her favorite part of the fashion shows (aside from the awareness and support it raised for Neighbors), was decorating the church hall for the event. The fashion show events were fun for Kristy because she enjoyed the creativity they gave her and the satisfaction of seeing it all come together for a good cause.
According to Kristy, Neighbors has remained essential to the community for 50 years because of the types of programs and services it provides as well as its ability to adapt to times of increased need. “I’m so proud of the community and of Neighbors. They always step up and I think their work is great,” Kristy said. “Congratulations on 50 years!”
This interview was conducted by Sophia Dahlke, Neighbors Intern and Volunteer, as part of the historical research for Neighbors’ 50th Anniversary Celebration (2022). For more information about anniversary events and to explore Neighbors’ history, click here.