10 Who Make a Difference: Open Table Food Ministry - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

10 Who Make a Difference: Open Table Food Ministry

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

All year long, rain or shine, they are out serving free meals to residents of Rochester. KTTC and the United Way of Olmsted County are recognizing Open Table Food Ministry as one of 10 Who Make a Difference.

About two years ago, People of Hope Lutheran Church and Zumbro Lutheran Church formed Open Table Food Ministry "just to try to meet a need for food insecurity here in our community," explained Pastor Dan Doering of People of Hope. 

Every Thursday from about 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the group parks its food truck at two locations in southeast Rochester: Oak Terrace Estates and Eastridge Estates across the street. Residents from those communities would then line up to receive free meals.

"We serve approximately 250 burritos every Thursday night. So that could be anywhere from 100 to 150 people," said Pastor Doering. "Especially the little ones, sometimes pick up food for their families, so whether their parents are still at work or whatever, they come and get multiple burritos."

Despite the demand, support has been strong, thanks to a partnership with Channel One Regional Food Bank and generous contributors.

"Monetary donations have exceeded what we're spending, so for the foreseeable future, we're kind of in good shape," Pastor Doering said.

Plus, it just feels good to make a difference.

"We're all in this life together. We're all living in these kind of turbulent times, so anytime that we can bring groups of people together that might not be together in other ways, it's great to see them come together and really just build community," said Pastor Doering. "So it makes me happy."

If you are interesting in becoming involved, visit Open Table Food Ministry on Facebook. You can also visit the websites of People of Hope (www.peopleofhope.com/) and Zumbro Lutheran Church (www.zumbrolutheran.org/).

The 10 Who Make A Difference Awards recognize 10 outstanding individuals or groups within Southeastern Minnesota and Northern Iowa who have made an impact in their community through volunteering. Each year, KTTC Television and United Way of Olmsted County ask the public and non-profit organizations to nominate an individual or a group who have made a difference in their community. A judging panel of community members review the nominations and selects 10 individuals and/or groups to receive this award.

The 24th annual award ceremony will be on Wednesday, June 21 at the Rochesterfest Main Stage.

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