Mountain Lake’s canning production creates food for Ukrainian families
Organizers says around 8,000 cans will be shipped out to Ukraine because of the community’s work.
MOUNTAIN LAKE, Minn. (KEYC) - The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a relief and development organization that partners with regional Mennonite churches, like the one near Mountain Lake, Minnesota.
Resident Elisabeth Harder Schrock took her love for the organization abroad in 2002, where she worked as a MCC volunteer in Ukraine for three years.
Now, 20 years later, despite Ukraine’s current political climate and warzone, one thing has remained the same: her desire to provide humanitarian aid for those in need.
“They feel a human connection. They know that people care enough to drop their ordinary workday and come here and pack meet into cans,” logistics coordinator & MCC volunteer Elisabeth Harder Schrock said.
Which is why members of local church organizations and the Mennonite mobile cannery came together on Thursday to produce and pack 10,000 pounds of poultry to provide food for Ukrainians in need.
The widespread effort is a tradition for volunteers around Mountain Lake, which has been on hold since 2019 because of Covid-19 and the avian flu.
But on Thursday, the communities came in large crowds for the cause.
“This is kind of important because the Mennonites here, around Mountain Lake, most of them came from Ukraine in the late 1870s and immigrated here and set up families in this community,” MCC chairperson of the local relief committee Ramont Harder Schrock said.
Local churches and community members collected around $30,000 for Thursday’s production.
It’s a large-scale production: grinding chicken, scaling and boiling the food, creating and placing labels, scanning and packing the cans, as well as other maintenance tasks- all from volunteers of all ages.
“It’s not often that you see intergenerational work like this- where we have elderly people wiping cans and we have teenagers working on the canner. Everybody’s eating together. It’s really a community affair, Ramont Harder Schrock said.
The result of their work: a 1.5 pound can of ground chicken.
Organizers says around 8,000 cans will be shipped out from MCC to Ukraine from the community’s work.
“I have found myself putting in that extra little handful of meat because I can think of specific people who this meat is going to and it’s really going to benefit their family,” Elisabeth Harder Schrock said.
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