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Rosemount United Methodist group provides for the grieving

When Carol Olson's husband died several years ago, she didn't really think much about the lunch served after the funeral. But a while later, when she had time step back and think about it, Olson realized how much it meant to her that it was done.

"It really meant a lot to me," said Olson.

So when she retired, Olson decided to join the group of volunteers at Rosemount United Methodist Church who provide lunch after funerals and memorial services. She organizes the effort that goes into getting the food ready to serve, which includes talking with the family, getting donations from church members and cooking.

The service is part of a caring ministry sponsored through the United Methodist Women. Providing the meals, Olson said, is way to meet the church's mission to serve.

"We feel it's something we can do to help," said Olson.

The group provides the food, serves the meal and then does all the clean-up free of charge. Olson said the group members try to make the meal as nice and comforting as they can.

"A lot of times (the family) has been through a lot of stress and the meal after the funeral is the first chance they have to take a deep breath," said Olson.

So far in 2011 the group has provided 11 lunches. During one stretch this summer they served seven meals in six weeks.

"July was particularly difficult. It got hard asking people to do another one," said Olson.

People came through, though, and made sure than each family was taken care of. Olson said Rosemount United Methodist Church has a large list of people willing to help with funerals. Some people donate food while others choose to serve at the luncheons. Regardless of the contribution Olson said most people feel it's an important service to provide.

"We all come away feeling like we've done something good," said Olson.

Volunteer Ruth Edgar coordinates the volunteers for each funeral. While she can't do much in the way of physical labor because of some health issues, Edgar said she can call and make sure there are enough people there to serve and clean-up the meals.

"It's a wonderful thing to do," Edgar said.

Edgar said God calls on people to serve and this is her way of serving others. While being involved in a sad time in people's lives can be difficult, Edgar said it fulfilling to help them through it.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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