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Charity never ceases for Feed My Sheep


Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Cal Long, from left, Spike Magelssen, Tanner Veis and Robin Thompson carry a donated picnic table into the back yard of Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen Saturday in Havre. The table is larger and in better shape than an old picnic table that had been sitting behind the soup kitchen for years.

In an unexpected act of charity, Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen received a new picnic table Saturday morning thanks to a donation by Robin Thompson and her parents.

Judy Neely, a weekend cook and volunteer of 11 years at the soup kitchen, said the donation was out of the blue but greatly appreciated.

Neely said that Havre and the surrounding community pulls through to help Feed My Sheep whether they need equipment, food or manpower.

"We wouldn't exist without our community," she said. "Whenever we need something, someone shows up. Everybody is connected here."

Thompson, the owner of Hound Lounge, said she donated the octagonal picnic table on behalf of her parents, Gordy and Denise Thompson. She views it as a way to help the soup kitchen and get better use out of the table which hardly had been used for decades.

"I think my mom won it 30 years ago or 20 years ago," she said. "They gifted it to me, and I thought I would gift it to (the soup kitchen)."

Thompson and a group of volunteers - Trygve "Spike" Magelssen, Cal Long and Tanner Veis, who were recruited through Facebook the night before - arrived at Feed My Sheep Saturday morning to take away the old picnic table and a pair of stoves sitting in the back yard of the building. The stoves were still functional but had been replaced during the winter when Gildford Hutterite Colony donated a full industrial stove to the soup kitchen.

The group left the old equipment at Helping Haven in the hopes that somebody in need will be able to use them.

After the old picnic table was removed and the new, larger one had been squeezed through the fence to the back yard, Thompson went to purchase an assortment of flowers to help brighten up the area.

Thompson said the donations are a way of thanking the volunteers and showing respect to the soup kitchen. She added that she initially wanted the table to be put in the front yard so that patrons could use it, but conflicts with neighbors relegated her donation to an employee-only area in the back.

Neely said donations, like the one from Thompson and her family, are what help Feed My Sheep provide meals to hundreds of people a week.

The soup kitchen receives food donations from countless places around town, including Gary & Leo's Fresh Foods, Grateful Bread, Henny Penny Cupcakes, Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza, Neely said. The kitchen also receives donations from fundraisers and food drives as well as locals who grow too much in their gardens or have leftovers from family reunions and other events.

"We always have a lot of sheet cake during graduation season," Neely said.

Anyone can donate food or money or volunteer, and Neely emphasized that every person is welcome to eat a meal during the kitchen's noon lunches Monday through Saturday.

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Neely said the number of guests varies throughout the year, but August is arguably the busiest season with more than 100 people stopping in at the soup kitchen most days.

"This is a wonderful place to work," she said. "It really, really, really is. The people who come to eat here are so grateful. It's instant gratification."

She said that every day is different, bringing new challenges and surprises.

"We never know what's going to walk through the door here," Neely said. "Today it's a picnic table, and this afternoon it could be the guy bringing in his cantaloupe that he didn't sell at the market. That's just how it is, there's a little magic happening here."


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