After launching its A Place at Our Table community meal program during the final quarter of 2017, First United Methodist Church will continue seeking to reach new faces and meet new needs with the program in the coming year.
The church launched an expanded version of its meals program in October, twice each month offering free food and fellowship to all who wish to attend. Meals are held on the first and third Thursday of each month, beginning at 6 p.m. in the church’s Family Life Center. Those in attendance are offered freshly prepared food, drinks and dessert along with an opportunity for fellowship with others from the community, all at no charge.
“So far it’s gone well,” said Chairman Renee Kiser of the church’s Outreach Committee. “On most nights we’ve had a good turnout with as many as 80 people attending at times. We’re getting the word out and we want to see it continue to grow.”
According to Kiser, organizers recognize the significance of continuing to offer the meals during cold winter months. Jan. 4, the first Thursday evening of 2018, was such an evening with frigid temperatures throughout the area. Kiser said 50 persons turned out for a warm meal, including several new faces.
“We can certainly see a need for a hot meal on a cold winter night,” she noted. “That’s something that people look forward to.”
Since the church introduced the regular twice-monthly schedule, new faces have begun to show up to take part in the meals. Many are local seniors who may be looking to supplement food supplies or simply looking for a social outlet. But, Kiser noted, more families with small children are also taking part in the meals.
“That’s what we want to see,” Kiser said. “Right now, we’re basing our food preparation on 100 people but we’d like to see that continue to increase. The more people we’re able to feed, the less hunger we’ll have in our community.”
“This is for anyone,” Kiser explained. “Everybody is welcome. They may or may not have food at home but if they come in they’ll find a hot meal and good conversation. Good food and fellowship, that’s what we’re offering.”
The next community meal is scheduled for Thursday evening. The church is located at 210 West Marion Street, just off of Key Street in Pilot Mountain.