UPDATED: Free community meals available in Carlton County

Every Thursday in May, a few local organizations will be offering free individualized meals.

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Jim ‘n’ Jos Katering in Cloquet is teaming up with Loaves & Fishes and United Way of Carlton County to bring free meals to the community every Thursday in May starting at 4 p.m.

The meals will be individualized and distributed at the Carlton VFW, Cloquet VFW and Fond du Lac Head Start.

According to Ali Bilden of United Way, there will be approximately 100 meals available at each location. Distributions will be limited to one meal per person and will go until the food is gone.

Organizers ask that people do not line up more than 15 minutes prior to the start of distribution.

Jim Vnuk, event organizer and owner of Jim ‘n’ Jos Katering, said each week will offer a different meal, with the first week including a meat casserole, veggies, coleslaw and cake.


Vnuk said he first came up with the idea for free community meals after reading an article detailing similar efforts by a chef following a devastating hurricane in Costa Rica. He and local food truck owner Paul Saptya then worked to plan the event.

Vnuk said that he saw the free meals as a way to bring some good to the community and connect local groups. He explained that the work is all volunteer-based, with multiple residents and groups involved.

Along with the United Way, the Carlton Area Lions Club, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and local VFWs have also worked to gather volunteers for the effort.

All food will be provided by Loaves & Fishes , with Jim ‘n’ Jos Katering providing kitchen space and financial contributions. The United Way is assisting with volunteer signup and other coordination efforts.

Dates for distribution are May 6, 13, 20 and 27, but Vnuk hopes to continue the effort throughout June as well.

To sign up as a volunteer, visit

This story was updated at 9:40 a.m. May 17 with updates from Jim Vnuk that changed the time of the event. It was originally posted at 8:20 a.m. May 5.

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