IMLAY CITY — They saw a need and decided to respond. That's all the impetus members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church needed to start 'Food for Families,' a soup kitchen for individuals and families.
Every Monday from 4-5 p.m., they'll open their church at 220 N. Cedar St. for free hot meals. They served up their first dinner this week.
On the menu: sloppy joes, coleslaw, chips and dessert.
Members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church prepare a sloppy joe dinner Monday, the first meal the Imlay City congregation served at ‘Food for Families,’ a soup kitchen for individuals and families. photo by Maria Brown.
"We've been talking about different ways to serve the community and examined some of the needs," Pastor Alan Casillas said.
"In light of things going on in the community we decided we need to have a soup kitchen here."
They've watched as Lapeer's soup kitchen, which revolves from participating churches every day, has grown. Church members Hylan Marshall said he's lent a hand at St. Paul's Lutheran in Lapeer where they serve between 40-80 people every Monday.
"We figure there are people here in Imlay City in need who might not have the transportation," Casillas said.
Based on the response, St. Paul's said they'll consider expanding the program to more than just one day a week and ask other churches to join in.
Parishoner Linda Looper has planned the menu for the next month: chicken on Jan. 28, a breakfast selection on Feb. 4 and an Italian night on Feb. 11 with spaghetti and lasagna.
"We'll always have peanut butter and jelly on hand for the kids," Looper said.
"It's all wholesome food," volunteer Connie Frank added.
Members of the church's youth group were recruited to serve up dinner.
This isn't the first time the church has opened up their kitchen to the community. In recent years, they've hosted a free Thanksgiving feast and every Wednesday from 8 -10 a.m. Marshall and other volunteers pull fresh baked goods out of the oven for a free senior citizens continental breakfast.
The soup kitchen volunteers plan to evaluate the program after four weeks. In the meantime, they hope the word spreads.
"This is a real labor of love," Frank said.
To learn more about the soup kitchen or offer donations, contact the church at 724-1200.