Feeding the multitudes

Goessel’s Keith’s Foods raises money for MCC with no annual sale

These are just a few of the people picking up the approximate 700 meals on Sunday sold for Mennonite Central Committee.

GOESSEL—The activity on Sunday echoed the sign painted on the east side of Keith’s Foods in Goessel, which reads, “Small town, big heart.”

People from all over demonstrated that by purchasing meals for a suggested $15 a meal, all to help feed the hungry. They picked up their meals of ham loaf, loaded baked potato, cream cheese corn, dinner roll, broccoli cauliflower salad and pie, all to benefit Mennonite Central Committee in light of MCC having to cancel their annual sale in Hutchinson because of the pandemic, a sale where they “feed the multitudes” and have quilts auctioned.

Keith said they made 250 pounds of ham loaf for the event, as well as using almost 90 pies. There were two “drive-thru” lanes for the customers.

They also raised a lot of money.

The exact amount received as of last night was $19,207.55,” store owner Keith Banman said, “It was amazing. Between my store staff and volunteers, we had about 20 working with this meal. We made just short of 700 meals.”

While various vehicles ranging from cars to SUVs to a bicycle that circled from the west side to the east side around the grocery store for purchases, various volunteers ran back and forth from the “drive-thrus” to the grocery store’s front door, gathering meals in bags, the only main difference in the meals being the kind of pie that accompanied them.

Keith said not everyone came at once to pick up the meals—it was a steady stream from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We are all blown away by how generous people were with their donations,” Banman said. “It turned out to quite a Sunday.”

What kicked off the project was, Banman said, that at past MCC sales, he’s offered some catered dinners as a sale auction item.

People would bid and buy these meals, and I would deliver them as they would schedule them,” he said. “Since the sale was canceled, I thought maybe we could do a meal to-go on a Sunday. I wanted to do this as my donation for the sale. At first I thought if we get orders for 100, maybe 200 that would be great.”

However, they got more than that and had to cut off the meal reservations on Friday.

We just reached a point we couldn’t do anymore,” he said before Sunday. “We are doing a one-meal deal. We are doing all the cooking here at my store with help with oven space at Tabor Church.”

It wasn’t difficult to find help for the meal.

My staff has been very busy doing prep work for the meal,” Banman said. “I have also had offers of others wanting to help. I have very much appreciated receiving some extra financial help to go toward paying the food costs.”

Just like on Sunday, business at the grocery store was “incredible” when the pandemic first hit.

We could hardly keep up,” Banman said. “It has since slowed down, but sales have still been good here at our store. I have spent many hours running trying to find items our regular suppliers are out of. The toilet paper crisis was crazy.”


Folks wait in line on Sunday morning to pick up their meals. At right is Keith’s Foods’ owner Keith Banman.
Folks inside Keith’s Foods hurry to get meals ready.