Last fall, the State Health Department shut down the weekly community dinners at a church in tiny Emily, Minn., saying the kitchen there wasn’t up to snuff.
A complete overhaul and addition of commercial-grade equipment at the Emily Wesleyan Church was needed to meet state health codes.
With a $170,000 price tag, it seemed like a daunting task for the volunteers from churches and community groups in the small town who had fed 7,000 people the year before at the weekly community feasts.
It took nearly a year, but they raised the money from grants and donations, and this week, the Community Care N’ Share meal program served baked chicken and mashed potatoes to 145 people, the Brainerd Dispatch reports.
“I think (the health inspector) was really surprised at what we were able to do,” said Care N’ Share head chef Paul Flemming.
The paper said the renovations included a nearly 900-square-foot, added-on space, new flooring, stainless steel appliances and a walk-in refrigerator and freezer that were donated by the church’s district headquarters in Charles City, Iowa.