Partnership between Burleigh County rancher, Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café helps feed people and cattle

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 3:35 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - When food spoils, most of us just throw it away.

But, a Burleigh County rancher has found a way to make use of food that’s gone bad, and he’s helping out those in need at the same time.

Every morning, Dwight Ruether heads out to the pasture to feed his cows. But what this herd munches on might surprise you.

Today’s breakfast includes bagels, bread and lettuce.

It’s all leftovers from Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café.

Instead of throwing away moldy, expired, stale food that’s not fit for human consumption, volunteers at the soup café put it outside on a shelf for Ruether to pick up every day.

“It’s not our total ration for our cattle, but they enjoy what they give us, from fruits and vegetables to even the grass clippings from his yard. They’ll even enjoy old wedding cakes, Twinkies and ding dongs,” said Ruether. “It makes for a beautiful looking animal.”

“We just want to be good stewards of what the Lord provides,” said Heaven’s Helper Soup Café executive director Mark Meier.

Meier said this just makes sense and fits perfectly with their mission.

“If we had to throw everything away you know our dumpsters would be overflowing and we might need to spend more money on sending it to the landfill. So, it all makes sense,” he explained.

Once a year, Ruether provides beef to the soup café.

“You can’t beat a fresh farm beef,” said Meier.

“Ask Mark, he says sometimes the roast tastes like bagels,” Ruether said with a laugh.

It is a partnership that has exceeded expectations.

“You could say we’ve got a lot of beef in the ministry,” said Ruether.

A ministry that continues to grow, and help those in need thanks in part to Ruether and his cattle and their determination not to let anything go to waste.

Ruether also donates soup bones to the soup café throughout the year.

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