Rochester churches gather to pack 100,000 meals – Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER – More than 200 people gathered at Bethel Lutheran Church on Saturday, March 12, 2022 to pack thousands of meals for Food for Kidz, a nonprofit organization based in Stewart, Minnesota.

The volunteers are members of churches around Rochester including Bethel, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Holy Spirit Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Bruce Gudlin, a member of the four-person team at Bethel that organized the event, expects the volunteers today to pack between 100,000 and 120,000 meals.

Half of the meals packed were oatmeal, and the other half were a rice and soy mixture. The oatmeal will stay local to Rochester and will be donated to a food bank, like Channel One, for distribution.

The rice and soy mixture is going back to Food for Kidz, which will utilize an international distribution network to send the mixture to countries in need. Some could be sent to Poland, one of the countries taking in Ukrainian refugees.

This packing event brought together generations of people. Gudlin said it was very encouraging to see.

“With all of the other opportunities to do stuff digitally, it’s getting harder and harder to get the youth re-engaged and giving back to the community,” Gudlin said. “This is really heartwarming to see them show up.”

Food for Kidz

A view of the room full of volunteers packing meals for those in need on Saturday, March 12, 2022 in Rochester, Minn.

Abby Sharpe / Post Bulletin

Like most gatherings, the pandemic forced Bethel to skip packing food the past two years. Gudlin said they aren’t operating today like they did before the pandemic. In those times, about 500 volunteers would show up and pack about 40,000 meals in an hour.

The churches are hoping they get back to that level soon. A pack is already scheduled for Nov. 5. And there should be no trouble getting enough volunteers there. The sign up filled up for today’s event in five days.






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