Loaves and Fishes have served over one million free, healthy meals in 2018 to food-insecure Minnesotans and the feat was commemorated in Aitkin.

Cathy Maes, executive director of Loaves and Fishes, was in Aitkin on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at First Lutheran Church. Aitkin Mayor Gary Tibbitts joined Maes in handing a golden plate to a guest at the noon lunch service for seniors.

This open-to-the-public dining site in Aitkin provides free, nutritious meals Mondays and Thursdays, year-round. Those meals are prepared and served at First Lutheran Church. This dining site opened in June 2016 for one night a week and grew to two nights by August 2016.

The bagged meal program distributes well-balanced, nutritious meals to Aitkin residents in coordination with Aitkin’s food shelf, HOPE, and Aitkin’s Lions. Lunches were distributed via the Habitat for Humanity house build in Aitkin this past summer.

Healthy meals and snacks are provided to First Lutheran Church’s weekly “Community Senior Day” for seniors. This past fall, an after-school snack program for children began in Aitkin.


Established in 1982 with two dining sites, Loaves and Fishes now serves over 2,700 meals daily at over 70 meal outlets in seven Minnesota counties, including Aitkin.

It offers multi-faceted meal programming: public dining, street outreach, summer and after-school meals and snacks for children and youth, and the HUB whereby healthy food is delivered affordably to small nonprofits for their in-house meals are given. Meals are enhanced by food grown at Loaves and Fishes’ own local farm and gardens, and food rescue.

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