Ruthie’s Kitchen opens it’s doors to carry on a legacy


A legacy is carried on as Ruthie’s Kitchen feeds and cares for the impoverished residents of Rockford’s Midtown District.

“A person who prepared a lot of tables for a lot of people”, said Pastor Michael Thomas from Zion Lutheran Church.

Ruthie’s Kitchen had their first of many Saturdays at the Zion Lutheran Church in Rockford after losing their home of over three decades.

Pastor Bill Gerber with the Jericho Project says,”That soup kitchen had operated for 35 plus years and the church decided to re-purpose the ministry mission at that house and so we suddenly found ourselves with no place to serve”.

The Gerbers reached out to Zion Lutheran, who welcomed the meal service for impoverished people and families.  Renaming it Ruthie’s Kitchen,  in memory of Ruthie Fairchild who passed away suddenly five months ago today.  Fairchild had a passion for helping those in need.

Pastor Bill Gerber and his wife Barb Gerber say,  “she spent a lifetime among the poor and impoverished and um. She carried bags in her trunk with items you know like personal items and if she saw someone on the street that needed it. She’d just [pull] her car over”.

Ruthie’s Kitchen is a way to make sure people are guaranteed at least one meal on the weekends when otherwise, those in need may not have had one.

“You don’t stop eating on Friday, you still have to eat Saturday and Sunday so for the homeless people or whoever just for the community you still need to eat”, says  Janice Forrest.
Barb Gerber continues, “I’ve looked at so many families that we have served, with kids, and if you know a parent is working at McDonald’s and making minimum wage you might be able to have a place to live, but there’s not enough money to stretch for every meal too”.

Ruthie’s Kitchen is held every Saturday at Zion Lutheran Church from 11:30am till 12:45pm and provide a full meal for those who would otherwise be going hungry.

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