Zion Lutheran Church and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Team Up to Open Community Bistro Dining Site
Four years ago, members at Zion Lutheran Church in Litchfield started to dream about transforming their kitchen and nearby gathering space into a place that could prepare healthy and delicious meals, build community and foster intergenerational relationships at the same time.
When Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) learned about their plans, they also started to dream how the two organizations could work together. The statewide nonprofit, through its LSS Meals services, prepares and distributes meals for older adults through community sites, home delivery and frozen shipped meals. With common goals of service, the two faith-based organizations decided they were a perfect match and are teaming up in a new partnership to open a Community Bistro Dining Site whose kitchen began meal preparation on August 16.
“It’s a fantastic partnership,” said Bridget Lux, a Zion Lutheran Church member, who has been involved in the project from the beginning. “This space definitely gives us more opportunities to get to know and serve our neighbors in the community.”
The Community Bistro Dining Site includes a new production kitchen and beautifully-remodeled gathering space. Generous financial support to fund the $325,000 building project came from the community at Zion Lutheran Church, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and their donors, corporations and foundations.
The Community Bistro Dining Site provides a welcoming place where older adults will have opportunities to eat meals together, make new friends, play cards and have an opportunity to interact with children from the congregation’s pre-school by reading to them or playing games together. Lux said that with meal sources difficult to find for the pre-school, the Community Bistro Dining Site will be “a great gift to be able to offer meals in house.”
She added that meals are currently provided on a carry-out basis with hopes of providing in-person service soon at Zion Lutheran Church.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Zion Lutheran Church,” said Chrissy Elton, regional manager for LSS Meals. “We’ve been working with volunteers from the Zion Lutheran Church community for several years already through our LSS Meals service in Litchfield, and they are amazing. We love working with them and are so excited to see how the Community Bistro Dining Site grows to become a great resource to the community.”
The Community Bistro Dining Site is planning to prepare, serve and distribute over 1,000 meals daily for older adults in the community,130 children at Zion Lutheran Church’s pre-school, a local adult day care service, frozen shipped meals to go and home-delivered meals. Prior to the Community Bistro Dining Site, older adults were picking up meals through the Civic Center in Litchfield and meals were prepared elsewhere.
The community is invited to a Grand Opening on Sunday, August 29 to tour the new space and learn more about the initiative. Pastor Kathryn Tiede from Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota will be preaching at the 8:30 a.m. worship service, followed by a special program, dedication and tours from 10 a.m. to noon. Refreshments will be provided.
Lux said that volunteers from the community are welcome to get involved. The Community Bistro Dining Site offers a wide variety of opportunities to help people feel welcome, prepare or package meals and deliver them to older adults in the community.
Older adults who would like to order home-delivered meals or meals for pick-up at Zion Lutheran Church are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free at 866.974.0289. For meal pick-up, Zion Lutheran Church is located at 504 N. Gilman Avenue in Litchfield.
Anyone can also order meals to go online at lssmn.org/mealstogo or by calling toll-free at 800.488.4146 during office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.