First United Methodist Church has announced plans to launch an expanded version of its community meal program, twice each month offering free food and fellowship to all who wish to attend.
Meals will be 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 will be offered freshly prepared food, drinks and dessert along with an opportunity for fellowship with others from the community, all at no charge.
The program stems from the church’s previous efforts in recent years to provide a community meal each month. According to Chairman Renee Kiser of the church’s Outreach Committee, those meals had developed a good following of regular attendees. The Outreach Committee is overseeing organization of the expanded program.
Church volunteers had also periodically volunteered to supply meals for the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center’s Monday night meal program at the Charles Stone Library. That program has recently been discontinued.
“We definitely feel there’s a need,” Kiser explained. “And with the outreach center’s meals stopping, we wanted to do more. We want to get flyers distributed in the community promoting this and we’ll have each meal noted on our church sign during the prior week. We felt this could reach a lot more people and help to fill the need that’s out there.”
The program is being called, “A Place at Our Table” and will begin in October. Scheduled dates for community meals are Oct. 5 and Oct. 19, with meals then continuing on the first and third Thursday of each month.
Among the motivating factors for adding meals, Kiser noted, was the support and encouragement of new Pastor Randy Pardue.
“This is for anyone, and no one will be turned away,” Kiser noted. “We hope that by doing this we can reach areas of need in our community, whether it’s loneliness, hunger or an opportunity to get out of the house. This is about getting people together in a casual, comfortable atmosphere and we want everyone who comes out to feel welcome.”