2003 Lumen Christi Award Winner
LEFT: Mary Ann Larsen was honored for the food pantry she started out of her garage.
RIGHT: Larsen’s family and friends helped her operate the “We Care” ministry.

"The Light of Christ Glowing from a Small Garage"

Mary Ann Larsen, a 77-year-old laywoman – and white-haired grandmother – from tiny Morgan, Minnesota, was recognized for the food pantry she created and for her unwavering dedication to the poor in rural, southwestern Minnesota. Through the “We Care” ministry, which she operated out of her garage, Larsen, along with family and friends, provided food, clothing and other necessities to people in need, without prying or passing judgment. The program, which started as a food “shelf” in the garage when the Larsen family had any extra, was so extensive by 2003 that it was distributing 13,000 pounds of food, serving as many as 200 families a month. The “We Care” program evolved into much more than a food pantry, though.

Larsen also became known for providing a listening ear and compassion to anyone who appeared at the door. And it all occurred in an unlikely holy place: a small garage with a handwritten sign that read, “Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Please call first.”

Postscript: Mary Ann Larsen died in 2014.

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