Loaves And Fishes Celebrates Decades Of Service

A small crowd gathered at Loaves and Fishes Sunday afternoon to celebrate twenty years of service to the community.

Now similar to the story in the bible for which the organization was named, board member Phyllis Litke remembers when the young organization needed its own miracle of sorts back in the late 80s.

"We didn't have enough funds to just go out and buy more food. We had to go to the public and appeal for assistance, and it came through greatly. Then we had enough food. November, December were our greatest months for getting in lots of extra money because of the holidays and people thought about it more, it was on their minds. But the summer months, they didn't think about it. We didn't have any casinos or anything to fall back on, and that's when they came through for us," Litke said.

Just as the public came through for Loaves and Fishes, the organization has come through for thousands of those in need.

As the doors swing open every weekday at 9 a.m., workers and volunteers serve at least 100 meals per day. For many of them, it's not simply a task, it's their mission.

"It's a kind of outreach in a sense of fulfillment for the purpose for which we're placed here - to serve the community. To be brothers and sisters to each other and to provide for those who are in need. It's a special calling, I think, for all of our people who believe," board president Pastor Jerry Bultman said.

Pastor Bultman wears a necklace made of a silver cross and fishing links. It reminds him that he is to be a fisher of people - the same logic that guided the small organization 20 years ago to help those in need.

Board members said the only problem now is getting enough money to pay the utilities and all of the help, but that won't stop them from moving forward. Just as they did years ago, they will wait patiently for yet another miracle.