Minneapolis parish brings food to the streets

| January 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

From left, volunteers Jane Vondrashek and her aunt, Mary Novitzke, of St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis deliver a meal to a resident of south Minneapolis Jan. 4 as part of a parish ministry called Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

As the temperature dropped to zero degrees Jan. 4, six volunteers from St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis bundled up and climbed into a food truck to bring meals to the streets of Minneapolis.

They are part of a larger effort called Mobile Loaves and Fishes that partners with Knox Presbyterian in Minneapolis. More than 400 volunteers make five to seven runs a week year round for a ministry that started eight years ago.

They deliver bagged meals and sandwiches to low-income neighborhoods and at places like the Salvation Army center in downtown Minneapolis. They also offer winter clothing like hats, gloves and scarves to those who need it. They deliver 670-700 meals a week.

“I just love this ministry,” said Ellen Vondrashek, who has been serving in the ministry since it started, and brought her daughter, Jane, with her Jan. 4. “It’s cold, but the people are so warm. They are very, very grateful we’re out there for them.”

“I think it means more than something just to fill their hunger needs,” said crew leader Mike Bernauer, who has been involved for the last four years. “It lends a  little dignity to their lives in the sense that it shows that someone cares about them, acknowledges their existence and is there to lend a smile and a helping hand.  It is a connection with others that make them feel less alone in the world.”

Bernauer said delivering meals during the cold winter months has special meaning.

“I usually see our food truck as a little beacon of light and hope in a dark world during the winter, and it is easy to see how it brings a moment of happiness and warmth into their lives,” he said.

He added: “The juxtaposition of all the beautiful city lights of corporate Minneapolis and the simple street light under which we are feeding these people always reminds us of the disconnect that exists in our world. Also, when we get home from the truck run, we crawl into our nice, warm homes and beds, and wonder about all those faces that are still out there in the cold, dark night.”

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Category: Local News