Grocery bags at Union Gospel Mission

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Thousands of turkeys and all the fixings delivered to the needy

Union Gospel Mission handing out enough to feed more than 50,000

November 20, 2018 - 11:24 am

It doesn't take much to pick up a bag of groceries.

Picking up 8,000 bags? Better get an army of volunteers.

Which is what the Union Gospel Mission has on Tuesday and Wednesday to deliver the all those bag and all those groceries to needy people in the Twin Cities.

"Without this, we'd be lost and disappointed, we wouldn't know what to do," said Lorraine Brooks of Little Canada, who's making dinner for four people that are like family to her.

"I don't have money to afford this," she said.

"This" is a brown grocery bag that's filled to the brim with a couple of Minnesota-grown potatoes, gravy and stuffing mix, rice, canned goods, dessert, and a coupon for a free turkey.

Volunteers have been packing the bags for more than a week, stacking them side-by-side in the main hall at the Mission's men's campus on St. Paul's University Avenue.

"They're not too bad, they're about six pound apiece," said Paul Mordh, who's been helping Union Gospel Mission in the annual turkey dinner giveaway for more than a decade.

"Eight thousand bags, two days, eight hours a day, so, you know, 16 hours," he said. "It's just a beautiful feeling."

The bags are loaded into a four-four-high box that's wheeled outside the building, and then transported by forklift to the staging area, before heading out to people who registered last month for the groceries.

Fork lift full of food
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Carol Coomer and her son Bill were putting the last of the spuds in the bags this morning, a new chore for them after several years helping deliver the food.

"My husband had been at the (mission's) recovery center for a while years ago, and he passed away," she said. "This is going to be some way that I can give back for everything that they have done for us."