Loaves and Fishes serves 1 millionth meal at Holy Rosary in Minneapolis

| December 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

Charlie Keffer, left, of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and a parishioner of St. Cecilia in St. Paul, hands a golden plate with food to Zerelda Walks Out, who lives in south Minneapolis, at Holy Rosary in south Minneapolis. The plate represents the 1 millionth meal served by Loaves and Fishes this year, the first time it has reached the mark. Holy Rosary is one of several local Catholic parishes that regularly host Loaves and Fishes. The organization provides free meals to those in need. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Zerelda Walks Out had dinner served on a golden plate Dec. 19 at Holy Rosary in Minneapolis.

“I thought it was amazing. Pretty cool that I got chosen to be the lucky person that got to eat off the golden plate,” said Walks Out, 40, a Minneapolis native who has been going to Loaves and Fishes meals at Holy Rosary since her pre-teen years.

Loaves and Fishes celebrated its 1 millionth meal in Minnesota for 2018 Dec. 19 with that golden plate. The Minneapolis-based nonprofit’s board set the goal two years ago after seeing an increase in meals served. Unrelated to nonprofits by the same name in other states, Loaves and Fishes in Minnesota has been serving meals to the poor since 1982.

“The significance of it [1 million] is that it’s the most amount of meals we’ve ever served in a year,” said Cathy Maes, executive director of Loaves and Fishes.

Loaves and Fishes began as a Catholic organization, and St. Stephen in Minneapolis and the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul were the first two sites to host it. St. Stephen still hosts it, and multiple parishes around the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis also host it.

Now an independent nonprofit, Loaves and Fishes serves an average of 2,700 meals daily around the state. Sites vary from serving weekdays to weekends. Volunteers from various churches and organizations prepare and serve the meals.

At Holy Rosary, a group from First Seventh Day Adventist Church in Minneapolis served the Dec. 19 meal. “It’s really a blessing,” said Angela Morgan, the lead volunteer from Minneapolis First.

“What I enjoy the most about this is the fact that we are able to serve people in need,” Morgan said.

She added that she liked the surprise of getting to dish up the 1 millionth meal at the start of the serving line. At the opposite end of the serving line, Charlie Keffer of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation handed Walks Out the golden plate. He represented the Minneapolis-based philanthropic nonprofit, one of many organizations supporting Loaves and Fishes.

“We’ve had a relationship with Loaves and Fishes over quite a few years,” said Keffer, a staff consultant for the foundation and a parishioner of St. Cecilia in St. Paul. He added that the foundation increased its contribution this year to support the goal of 1 million meals.

Maes anticipates a bigger goal of 1.3 million meals for 2019 based on growth trends. The demand for meals has grown by three times the amount since 2013, she said.

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