Aitkin and Palisade locations are warm, friendly and welcoming places  to enjoy a meal among friends

“Physical hunger is only part of the need we address,” said Cathy Maes, executive director of Loaves & Fishes Minnesota. “Loneliness is as much a danger to health as a lack of food.”

Loaves & Fishes is a nonprofit organization serving free, healthy meals to Minnesotans where the need is greatest.

 “We serve urban, suburban and rural communities through a  variety of meal programs supported by creative food sourcing, our own farm and gardens and food rescue efforts,” said Maes.

The program got its start in Aitkin County through a grant given to the organization by the Otto Bremer Foundation. The Bremer Foundation asked Loaves & Fishes to use the money to locate a service in Aitkin County.

A logical partner for the work was First Lutheran Church of Aitkin, which was already serving community meals on Monday evenings, and had the infrustructure and some of the staff needed to be a good location.

Loaves & Fishes hired Jason Todd as coordinator for the project and is now offering meals on Monday and Thursday evenings at First Luthern Church in Aitkin, and a noon meal on Tuesday.

The Palisade location (Bethel Lutheran Church on Main Street) started with a noon meal on Thursdays, and added a Monday noon meal more recently. If there is sufficient participation, Loaves & Fishes would like to continue to offer the Palisade meals over the winter, said Maes.

Both older Minnesotans and younger families are served at these locations, and there are no income restrictions and no need to register.

For more information, contact First Lutheran Church in Aitkin at (218) 927-2038, or  go to the Loaves & Fishes website:

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