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Volunteers cook up something special for men’s refuge

When Minot-area residents see neighbors in need, they are quick to lend a hand. When that neighbor is the Men’s Winter Refuge, it takes many hands to provide the help that’s much appreciated by the director and residents at the men’s shelter.

Residents have been stepping up since mid-January to provide evening meals every day at the shelter. The Meal Train, organized by Kristen Dionne of Minot, has brought roast beef and mashed potatoes, enchiladas and lasagna, among other homemade specialties, to the 10 to 15 men housed each night. Monday’s article about the Meal Train by Minot Daily News writer Kim Fundingsland told of the donated meals provided nightly by generous cooks.

Meal Train, a national movement, is designed to help in many situations where meal preparation is needed. Volunteers sign up to prepare meals through the national website.

The Men’s Winter Refuge has had a Minot business sign up to provide a full Easter dinner. Another group is working on a grilled steak dinner. Others have donated gift cards or money to purchase meals.

It is a change of pace from soup or stew or whatever the director might conjure up to feed the men. Executive director Mike Zimmer said evening meals for the guys were always a challenge.

The donated meals mean a lot to the men who are working to get back on their feet and don’t have places of their own to call home. The shelter provides them a temporary place, and now it can feel even more like home with the quality of meals being served. It’s not just the meals that make a difference, but it’s the sense of knowing somebody cares enough to invest their time and labor into seeing to it that you eat well.

In North Dakota and throughout America, food always has been a part of how people celebrate family and community. Guests don’t leave hungry, and neither will the temporary residents at Men’s Winter Refuge, thanks to the kindness of the folks who’ve already provided dozens of meals and of those who will be continuing that effort until the refuge closes for the season April 30. Our thanks goes out to those volunteers.

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