Wayzata Parish and local volunteer receive awards from Minnesota FoodShare

Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Community (HNOJ) in Wayzata received this year’s Outstanding Congregation Award from Minnesota FoodShare, an organization that promotes food shelf donations statewide. Also, Plymouth resident Bill Rudolph, a long-time parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus, received the Outstanding Volunteer Award from Minnesota FoodShare for his exceptional food shelf volunteer efforts over the past 20 years. Both Rudolph and HNOJ were nominated for these awards by Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP), a nonprofit organization providing food and housing assistance, child care, employment and transportation resources, and other services to families in the western suburbs of Minneapolis.

From left: Fr. Tim Morin, pastor at Holy Name of Jesus, and parishioner Bill Rudolph accept awards from Minnesota FoodShare for food shelf efforts. 

Minnesota FoodShare directs the largest food drive in the state, its annual March Campaign. Food items collected during this campaign are used to restock 300 food shelves throughout the state, which serve countless families and individuals in need each year. For this campaign, IOCP posed a 50-50 Challenge to the community it serves. The goal: collect 50,000 lbs. of food and $50,000 in financial contributions within the month of March. This year-due in part to contributions from the HNOJ community-IOCP exceeded its goal, receiving a record 53,316.85 lbs. of food and collecting $55,739.63 in funds.

But at HNOJ, the campaign doesn’t stop April 1. The parish, which has supported IOCP since the organization was founded in 1979, collects food items every week as part of the offertory during Mass. About 150-200 families participate each weekend, with the children carrying food items up to a collection box residing near the altar. On this box is a message: “Our Eucharist is incomplete so long as our brothers and sisters are hungry.” Every Monday for 20 years, Bill Rudolph has brought these donations to IOCP, where food shelf volunteers unload and distribute the items. In 2010, HNOJ donated 17,635 lbs. of food for this cause.

“We were asked to nominate volunteers for their creativity and commitment to helping their hungry neighbors,” said Lynn Vettel, community engagement director at IOCP, about nominating Rudolph and HNOJ for this award. “We are very thankful for [Rudolph’s and HNOJ’s] ongoing commitment to providing food to families in our community.”

In addition to food donations, HNOJ participates in the IOCP Sleep Out each year. This event raises funds to help provide stable housing for families at risk of homelessness. Last year, Holy Name of Jesus raised over $30,000 at this event.

“Responding to the needs of our community is a deep-rooted part of our tradition here,” said Sabrina Mauritz, director of parish life at HNOJ. “Our parishioners are always looking for ways to put their faith into action, and with the food collection, we get to teach this value to our children.”

For Rudolph, volunteering at HNOJ is not so much a service as a way of life.
“I was baptized in the old church building, I made my First Communion there, and the first time I served Mass was when I was 7 years old,” Rudolph said. “I’ve been here my whole life. This place is my home.

Located in the northwestern suburbs of Minneapolis, Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Community is a vibrant, diverse parish devoted to living and sharing our faith. Our mission is to know the heart of Christ, see the face of Christ, and be the hands of Christ in all we do. Contact us at Holy Name of Jesus, 155 County Road 24, Wayzata, MN 55391. Phone: 763-473-7901. Fax: 763-745-3488.

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