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Meal-packing charity buys former Presbyterian church

The man behind the non-profit Feed My Starving Children is bringing his latest mission to Farmington.

On Monday, Richard Proudfit closed on the purchase of the former First United Presbyterian Church Building on Heritage Way. The building, which has been vacant since the church closed its doors in December of 2013, will become the new headquarters of Lighthouse God’s Food, a non-profit that like Feed My Starving Children provides community groups an opportunity to assemble meals for children in impoverished countries.

Proudfit, who also started the meal-packing organization Kids Against Hunger, has a history of starting projects and then leaving them for others to run. He believes in order to feed all of the starving children in the world you need many locations, not just one or two. He would like to eventually establish Lighthouse satellite locations around the Twin Cities and eventually around the country.

Lighthouse was formerly located in Rochester, but Proudfit had trouble finding donors there. He looked all over the Twin Cities for a building before settling in Farmington, said Matthew Sikich, the organization’s director.

“It’s a good setting, because it’s right in Farmington proper,” Sikich said. “It’s a unique community, we feel. People still have the small-town camaraderie.”

The building will offer meal-packing opportunities for community groups as well as providing office space for the organization. Sikich would also like to make the space available to the community. He has already talked to the people behind The Table, an organization that provides free monthly meals from a food truck in Farmington, about using Lighthouse’s new building as a site for the meals during the winter.

“A lot of great things can happen,” Sikich said. “We’re going to encourage the community that, if they have an idea, if they have a need … to contact us. If it’s something in our realm of being able to do, we have the space.”

They also have a big job ahead of them. Sikich and Proudfit were already on site Tuesday moving things into their new building. Much of the building is still without heat, but rooms are filled with boxes and Lighthouse banners.

Sikich and Proudfit put the Lighthouse name and phone number in a message board out front that still bears the First Presbyterian name. They still have phone lines to set up, but they’re moving full speed ahead. Sikich said they want to be up and running in the new building as soon as they can.

The building will likely remain unchanged for the time being, but Proudfit already has ideas for expanding to make more room for Lighthouse’s operations.

To contact Lighthouse, call 651-463-1003.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606
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