Filling a need
This is an installment in a series about how the economy has impacted services provided by groups and agencies in Harrison County.
Old Capitol United Methodist Church in south Corydon recently surpassed its one-year anniversary of offering a free weekly dinner to community residents as an outreach program.
‘It is targeted to those who may be struggling somewhat given the downturn in the economy, but it is definitely open to anyone in the community,’ Michael Woertz, a member of Old Capitol UMC, said.
The meals are free.
‘Our diners are our guests,’ Woertz said.
The idea of offering a free meal came about when Woertz and fellow church member Clay Bauserman were looking for a way to promote their weekly youth program, which begins at 6:30 on Thursday evenings.
So, on Thursdays, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., anyone who wants a free meal is welcome to dine at the church.
Since starting the outreach mission in February 2010, Woertz said they serve anywhere between 80 and 100 people each week. Also, another 50 dinners are delivered weekly by OCUM member Carl Snyder; most of them are taken to residents at Capital Court apartments.
The menu varies from week to week.
‘Meat loaf, chicken, beef stew, turkey, pork, casseroles, spaghetti, pizza, you name it,’ Woertz said, adding that the food is provided by the church and through private donations.
Different groups, mostly those affiliated with OCUM, take turns preparing the food.
‘Most are church members, but there have been many non-members participate as well,’ Woertz said. ‘For example, one night we had a Girl Scout troop prepare and serve the meal.’
On Feb. 24, the Young Women’s Group WISH (Working, Inspiring, Serving, Helping) took its turn in the kitchen. Members Susan Fessel, Kim Whittington and Jennifer Wiseman were preparing sloppy joes that would be served with chips and fruit cups.
The WISH members said, that when it’s their turn, they always serve the same things, as they have found a system that works well for them.
Woertz said they are always looking for volunteers to assist with the program.
‘I firmly believe that a successful sustainable ministry is best achieved by the small efforts of many versus the heroics of a few,’ he said.
When asked what the volunteers get out of the mission work, Woertz replied, ‘Fellowship with the wonderful people of our community, which is much, much more than we give.’
Woertz anticipates that OCUM will offer the free community meals indefinitely.
‘The dinner is a great way for Old Capitol to serve the community and extend an invitation to those who may be looking for a church home,’ he said.
Anyone who is interested in helping in any way with the Thursday night community dinners is welcome to call the church at 738-4736 or send Woertz an e-mail at [email protected]
‘Or, you are more than welcome to just show up on any given Thursday, have dinner with us and see what we are all about,’ he said.