On a cold, damp and dreary Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving, the lobby of Calvary Assembly of God was transformed into a warm and welcoming dining room, complete with twinkling lights and white tablecloths.
Nearly every seat was occupied for the church’s soup kitchen, serving up home-made chicken soup and biscuits to senior citizens.
“They come early; some come in as early as 8 for the fellowship. It’s their chance to meet other people,” said Young, adding that 32 volunteers collect and distribute the food “and, of course, a kind word.”
“Volunteer facilitators mingle and talk with people who want a caring conversation,” she said.
The fourth Wednesday of each month, with the exception of December, is designated for senior citizens, and draws just over 100 people on a regular basis.
“Since the SNAP cuts, we have seen a significant increase in calls, 42 percent after the first week. People told us they had their benefits reduced, and we are swamped,” Ms. Young said.
More demand for services won’t deter this mission.
“We are focused on serving the community. We are a microcosm of the community, and Pastor (Roland) Coon communicates that from the pulpit,” she said.
This small army of volunteers works year ‘round, and not just during the holiday season.
“Hunger does exist, not just on Thanksgiving or Easter, but on March 2 or whenever. And everyone can help by just dropping off a few extra cans to a local food pantry. Everyone can help by giving a dollar or a can of food. We all have hungry neighbors in need.”