STILLWATER — Tom Thiets cherishes a letter he received from an inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Bayport.
The note described the man’s reaction to participating in a 2013 charity event in which 120 maximum security offenders packed more than 15,000 meals for local food shelves.
“I walked away from that event with a profound and revitalized sense of purpose,” the letter read. “It had been a long time since I had been able to feel that way. Helping others outside these walls that confine me falls squarely into the character of who I am.”
The program called Meals From the Heart is a joint effort between Stillwater’s Trinity Lutheran Church and a local mission organization founded by Thiets called Mano Amiga. It’s similar to the larger organization Feed My Starving Children in that it gathers volunteers together to assemble ingredients including rice, soy protein, freeze-dried mixed vegetables, vitamins and minerals and flavor mix into nutritious and easy-to-distribute meals for the hungry.....