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Minnesota Central Kitchen, the collaboration between chefs and nonprofits to feed people in need in the Twin Cities during COVID-19, has expanded to Surly Brewing, its fifth kitchen site. Leaders said Tuesday the initiative will continue even after restaurants reopen to the public because a growing number of Minnesotans will need help as a result of COVID-19.

The five kitchens employ 100 food service workers who've dished up 306,000 meals since mid-March — from BBQ ribs to tater tot hot dish and burritos — half of which are produced with donated ingredients or food that would otherwise have been thrown out.

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Meals are distributed to people in need through Appetite for Change, the Sanneh Foundation, Catholic Charities in St. Cloud and Loaves & Fishes' free meal sites across the Twin Cities. The four other kitchen sites are Chowgirls Killer Catering, Appetite for Change, Compass/Eurest and Sodexo. The Bachelor Farmer had participated until its recent closure.

The initiative, led by Second Harvest Heartland, costs more than $5 million over six months. Second Harvest CEO Allison O'Toole said the effort will be permanent, another way to deliver food to people in need.

KELLY SMITH