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Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen gives thanks for community support

Thanksgiving began a few days early for the volunteers and support crew at the Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen in Brainerd.

Pastor Bob Evans, who manages the soup kitchen, hosted a thank you luncheon Tuesday at the former Temple Baptist Church building where Sharing Bread operates seven days a week. “We’ve had super help from the community-at-large,” Evans said.

Lunch was served in style with food donated from Prairie Bay, a longtime supporter of the Sharing Bread effort. “This is just our way of saying thanks,” Evans said.

A year ago, Evans was given the news that the cafeteria facility used by Sharing Bread was in need of major renovations as required by state health laws. Those renovations came with a hefty price tag — approximately $70,000.

Instead of taking the news as a negative setback, Evans saw it as on opportunity for growth. “My angle on this is it’s an awesome opportunity to do stuff we’ve wanted to do for a really long time,” Evans said in an interview with the Dispatch last December. “We want people to be safe and we’re really happy about this.”

With the help of volunteers, local businesses and grant funding, Sharing Bread is back in business working at full capacity for the last several weeks.

Evans said because of the help offered by area businesses, including Nor-Son Inc, the project actually came in under budget. Evans also said Nor-Son managed the project at no cost and worked with sub-contractors, most of whom donated their time, and in many cases materials to help finish the project.

“It’s really an amazing thing,” Evans said. “They really got everyone to buy into the community spirit.”

Now that renovations are complete, Evans said the focus for Sharing Bread has shifted from funding construction to managing day-to-day operations. “Now we have to get on to doing this ministry,” he said.

Evans is seeking continued financial support and donations from the community to continue feeding those in need in the lakes area. “There’s a need to keep food coming in,” Evans said, pointing toward his newly installed commercial stainless steel refrigerators. “The shelves are kind of empty.”

On Dec. 9, Sharing Bridge will partner with Prairie Bay for the fifth annual Soup Kitchen benefit at Prairie Bay. Prairie Bay employees volunteer their time to serve the meal and all the food served is donated by local businesses.

The event is open to the community with available seatings at 12, 2 and 4 p.m. 100 percent of donations received will go directly to Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen.

SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at or 855-5879.