Loaves & Fishes doing good work in Marshall

To the editor:

Loaves & Fishes is experiencing a remarkable year. We are poised to possibly serve one million healthy meals to Minnesotans in 2018. Although a watershed moment and something to celebrate, it is also disheartening because those meal numbers reflect need and the stubbornly high rate of food insecurity in Minnesota.

Christ United Presbyterian Church, where Esther’s Kitchen is hosted, is an essential ingredient to the free meals we serve to anyone in need in Marshall. We also enjoy an affiliation with the Marshall Area YMCA, serving meals and snacks to children. The Rev. Ann Veldhuisen (Christ United) and Tom Bolin (YMCA executive director) are incredible advocates for our mission. With the support of our Marshall partners, we have served over 6,000 meals at Esther’s Kitchen and over 8,000 meals and snacks at the YMCA in 2018 alone.

In addition to the thousands of meals served we recognize there is a call for Loaves & Fishes to grow in Marshall, perhaps to include meal delivery to people aging in place. However, Esther’s Kitchen is costly to run, at a rate of $4.70 per plate. Although we want to continue helping people in Marshall, it is important to share that we are struggling and our meal service in Marshall could be in jeopardy. Secure funding is essential to programming. Despite tremendous support from some funders along with an annual fundraising event at Brau Brothers Brewing (this year scheduled for Nov. 13) we are currently in the position of having to secure brand-new funding to combat other decreased support.

Loaves and Fishes is doing good work in Marshall, in cooperation with strong partners. To share ideas or lend support to our free meal programming in Marshall please do not hesitate to contact me at 612-392-5606. We are an important part of your community and want to remain that way!

Cathy Maes

Loaves and Fishes executive director