WORTHINGTON — JBS Worthington employees received gifts of non-perishable food items in a drive-through distribution Thursday and Friday, thanks to coordination by UFCW Local 663.

UFCW Local 663 president Matt Utecht said he wanted to make sure JBS employees were taken care of through financial losses sustained by the COVID-19 outbreak. He reached out to folks he knows through the union and managed to raise $25,000 in funds — enough to deliver a full semi trailer to Worthington.

Utecht worked with Cub Foods and Jerry's Foods in the Twin Cities — he said he felt it was important to support unionized grocery stores — to fill a semi with non-perishable food and several pallets of diapers.

He contacted The Rev. Jim Callahan of St. Mary's Church in Worthington to arrange a place for pickup. A group of JBS employees, union representatives and community members unloaded the semi, boxed up the items and placed them in trunks as JBS workers drove through the St. Mary's parking lot Thursday and Friday afternoon.