Hubbard County Food Shelf clients have long been accustomed to bending over to select the fresh produce available in boxes on the floor.

But food shelf director Bob Hansen sought to remedy the situation, looking to those handy with a hammer to construct “compartmentalized, tiered shelving” for the A-to-Z (artichokes to zucchini) produce selection.

In rode the Calvary cavalry, Glenn Anderson leading the Hard Hat Ministry (HHM) mission.

The retired contractor and pastor – now focusing on woodcarving and music – leads a corps of 22 men and women whose credo is “no job is too small – but some are too big.”

The local endeavor evolved after a trip to Puerto Rico last February to assist with relief efforts after the hurricane, refurbishing a flooded church. Four teams of volunteers, numbering 50, have or will be heading to the Caribbean island to continue to aid with reconstruction.

“San Juan looks like Minneapolis,” Anderson said. But outside city limits, house roofs are gone, damaged houses are vacant. This is where volunteers, who are paying their own way, are headed.

Back on the home front, the Hard Hat Ministry’s objective is to “make ourselves available to anyone with a home project who can’t afford it – or can afford it and pay us to do it,” Anderson explained.

The food shelf, a volunteer effort that relies on the beneficence of the community, qualified. After a couple of nights of pondering, Anderson was ready to begin.

The HHM formed in July, with 22 projects now completed. Monetary donations fund tools and materials.

The idea had emerged from a rooftop, at the urging of Cliff Tweedale, who was among a trio fixing a porch roof.

“This is an example of doing more and more outside the church walls,” explained Bob Berdahl, who donates his shop for projects. “Successful churches don’t exist within four walls. We must make an impact on the community.”

The sandwich boards asking for donations to the Salvation Army this holiday season evolved at the hands of the HHM.

An elderly woman’s roof has been repaired. Yard furniture was returned to shelter. Concrete was poured for a new home. Female members of the HHM assisted with organizing a rummage sale for an elderly woman. Twenty pickup loads of firewood were cut for a party recovering from surgery.

“This is a part of the outreach ministry,” Anderson said of the church’s volunteerism at the jail, hospital visitations and a discretionary fund that provides vouchers for food, gas and housing on a short-term basis.

Anderson takes the call from the person in need. He heads out to survey the project and determines the urgency. His requests of the HHM beneficiaries: fund materials and provide coffee for the crew.

“We are not out there to compete with contractors,” he said. “It’s up to the person with a need to make the decision” if the HHM should complete the project.

Donations fund tools and materials.

For more information, contact Calvary Lutheran Church at 732-7284.