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Father Mike Sullivan's jams and jellies help fund Rogers food shelf

Metro area church makes jams and jellies to give back to community
Metro area church makes jams and jellies to give back to community 01:54

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — Father Mike Sullivan is a cook with a collar.

He's been pastor of St. Joseph The Worker in Maple Grove for 24 years and making homemade sweet spreads for almost as long. It's a labor of love born from loss.

"My mother died in the summer of 2003. That fall and winter I started making jams and jellies," said Sullivan.

At first, Sullivan donned an apron to share the preserves made with his mother's recipes with parish staff. But as demand grew, it became a much larger passion project. Father Mike's jams and jellies quickly became a hot item at the parish's fall craft sale.

"No matter what we make, we run out before the end of the sale," explained Fr. Sullivan.

Last year, he said they made 791 jars of jam & jelly. As quantities increased, he added help from parish volunteers.

"In general, I don't cook. This is a whole new learning experience for me. I just take direction from him," said Rachel Fuss, a member of the Lady Knights of Columbus.

The fruit comes from parishioner donations and excess from the CROSS Services food shelf in Rogers.

The money raised from sales of the jars goes back to the non-profit.

"They call me the Arnold Schwarzenegger of jelly," he laughed.

"It says 'Father Mike's Jams & Jellies' for a reason, because it's his," said Fuss.

But there's no doubt, his mom's touch is there too.

"She'd be very happy that I started making jelly and astounded at how much we're making now," said Sullivan.

"Father Mike's Jams & Jellies" in flavors including rhubarb-strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and apple will be for sale this fall.

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