On the west side of Saint Paul, Wednesday afternoon is special. It is there that the Jesus Delivers Food Bank is open to the public. The program is sponsored by the St. Paul evangelistic Association. Located at; 631, Stryker Avenue.
The program is held in three ways. One of which, the needy can attend Rev. Peter Rodewald, (Pastor Pete). Church service and then be called out in an orderly manner and take a basket and bags of food, and then guided to the freezer and onto the bread where you can usually get 3-4 loaves as the supply allows, as stated by Board of Director and member, Monica Green.
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Pastor Pete, will start the service off with a jubilant toe tapping hymnal along with his 82 yr. old guitar picking companion (Bob) While Pastor Pete strums and sings their blend of country, folk, gospel music.
The church is near capacity and the spirit seems to fill the participants as they sing along. Their service
Is approximately 1 hr. and then to the food. The other ways one get the benefit of the food bank, is to participate in the “Fare for all” program by paying a donation of twenty five dollars. There’s no charge for those with an emergency and attend the church service. If you want to attend the: emergency food shelf twice in one month. Then donations of $12.50 are required say’s Pastor Pete, or donate an 8 to 9hr. day helping out. The food emergency program serves usually 150 families per month and there’s also an early morning line that serves a varied amount closely to the afternoon line of people coming to just get food. When those in line were asked if they would prefer to not attend the church service in order to receive food, one person “Ronnie” said, He did not mind because it was time for him to seek spiritual help, as he’s been searching for a church home anyways, he’s been to a few churches and even went to a Mormon church, until he experienced some discord from a few congregation members. Another woman in the line would not comment when asked. A couple in the paying line said “Nancy” said it was a saving to her and that helped out in a big way”.
Pastor Pete say’s he was inspired to start the program back in1981 when he broke his neck and discovered the stringent restraint of the secular program he went to for food. They had a rigid and rigorous questioning and accounting of where your every penny one may’ve had and how it was spent in order to qualify for some donated food. Pastor Pete say’s, his program differs from the others because; He does not get state money or food. Also those who receive food distributed by from Second Harvest are not allowed to speak of or hand out flyers that encourage to, come to God. Pastor Pete’s program intends to fill the soul as well as the belly. The Jesus Delivers program has been established and not only serves people at the west side location, they have an association of over 20 churches they distribute to.
Their system is based upon a truck route owned by the St. Paul Evangelistic Association, and they get their food directly food the charity of local grocers between St. Paul, Minneapolis and Hopkins. They in turn make food available to the public they serve. They even fill a void that the Catholic Charities has, by giving a free curb-side hot meal at the Dorothy day program. Pastor Pete say’s there are many down town St. Paul that is not allowed to attend the Dorothy Day Center, (who sleep in the streets and under bridges) any longer and thus go hungry. His N.S.F. truck supplies the meals Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and hopes to begin Monday s in Minneapolis at the Crossroads Baptist Church, once the vehicle certification process is achieved.
Pastor Richard Sorenson who drives the hot meals truck, did not know the particular much about the particular incidents that disallowed and barred those around the Dorothy Day Center from eating there anymore, But Pastor Pete said, They are welcome at his food truck anytime.
The program has had its struggles, especially when the vehicle gas prices were up. The fuel cost could run in excess of $9,000 per month. Now with lower fuel prices it’s down to 3-4,000 dollars per month.
Then there’s the time the facility was burglarized by suspected volunteers the weekend after Thanks Giving.
There’s a monthly expenses of over $10,000 to run the program, and they get an occasional water shut off notice and the usual pressures of other utility warnings, but Pastor Pete says’ his “Faith is strong and his belief in the Lord is even stronger. The program has survived while the biggest donation ever, has been $5,000 from a one time donor.
You can go to www.jesusdelivers.info for further info. Or Ph. 651-292-8893, F 651-287-0677
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