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Soup kitchens serve hungry in Minot

July 13, 2019
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Free meals are served at soup kitchens at different locations in Minot, N.D., each day of the week. (Kim Fundingsland/Minot Daily News via AP)

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — There’s a need in Minot that is being met on a daily basis by dedicated volunteers. Several churches in the city host soup kitchens, utilizing donations from businesses and individuals. The passionate effort is carried out by different denominations working alongside each other for a common purpose — serving the community.

The term “soup kitchen” became popular during the 1930′s in the era of the Great Depression when unemployment was high and money scarce. While the name remains in use today it doesn’t truly reflect the healthy meals placed before those in need.

“We don’t serve soup,” said Richard Sabol, a volunteer at Katie’s Kitchen hosted by Christ Lutheran Church each Tuesday. “We have things like meatballs, potatoes, vegetables, tacos and hamburgers. People seem to like it and they are really grateful for it.”

“And we always have desert. That’s one of our staples,” Meri Knudsvig added.

Knudsvig can be found working Katie’s Kitchen each week where she said an average of 60 meals a week are served but that the number is often higher during summer when school age children visit the church.

“It’s a good way to support the community,” Knudsvig told the Minot Daily News. “It’s a free meal open to anybody in the community. You can definitely tell that it’s needed.”

Free meals are served during the noon hour at a different soup kitchen each day of the week in Minot. There’s also a morning meal served on Saturdays and an evening meal served each Wednesday.

Sue Casavant, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church secretary, heads up the weekly suppers served there each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

“I try to make it a hot meal because for some of the people it’s the only meal they’ll have that day,” said Casavant. “We serve an average of 100 people. There’s a need. I believe it’s bigger than people realize.”

It’s a need, said one volunteer, that people might think doesn’t exist, but it really does. The evidence is easy to see any day of the week when people assemble in lengthy serving lines at the various host churches.

“There’s a definite need in the community,” said Kim Haugen, Immanuel Baptist Church secretary who works in the soup kitchen each week. “It’s nice to know we are meeting that need. I’ve been working here for 14 years and there’s people that have been coming to our soup kitchen for 14 years.”

Haugen said an average of 80 meals a week is served at Immanuel Baptist.

“It’s very rewarding,” said Jomell Gibson, a volunteer at the Immanuel Baptist soup kitchen. “You see people that come in every day. One of our clients comes in early in the morning and waits for the meal. Even if they are not starving it takes care of one meal that they don’t have to pay for. Then they can use their money for electricity and water and rent and so on.”

While a wide variety of meals are served at the city’s soup kitchens, there’s an emphasis on serving healthy foods too. Area grocers, such as Cashwise and Marketplace Foods, frequently make donations to Minot’s food pantries and soup kitchens, helping meet the demand for breads, fruits and vegetables.

“We have a lot of donations and receive some grants,” said Beryl Hornberger, volunteer at Immanuel Baptist. “I think this is just a miracle for the town of Minot. We hear the different stories from the people who come in and how much they appreciate us doing it. We’re just glad to be here to help them.”

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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