Every month, members of Ferrysburg Community Christian Reformed Church in Spring Lake, Mich., gather with residents from the nearby Swiss Village neighborhood to assemble “oven-ready” take-home meals.
Carl Aardema, Rev. Nate Visker, and Cindy Reinhardt provide hospitality and food for neighbors.
The ministry, called Meals-to-Go, serves 30 to 40 families every month.
“One thing that I really value about Meals-to-Go is that it doesn’t happen in our facility. We’re leaving our church building and going out to our neighbors and tangibly sharing Christ’s love on their turf,” said Rev. Nathan Visker.
The Swiss Village neighborhood has a community center where Meals-to-Go is held. A group of 6 to 10 church members assemble ingredients and cook the dishes on the morning of the event. Later on, another group sets up the meals in Swiss Village.
Neighbors come through and assemble three freezable meals to take home and share with their family. Each meal generally includes a soup, a casserole, and some kind of meat, along with rolls and dessert.
But that’s not all the neighbors leave with. “One of the greatest blessings of this has been the relationships that are starting to form,” said Visker.
Kara Kemperman, a church member who serves at Meals-to-Go with her daughters, agreed. “We feel it’s important to serve, but it’s really the friendships with the people who come for meals that keep us coming back,” she said.
Church members have begun to expand the ministry beyond food, providing gloves and hats for those who request them and bringing in extra clothes for residents.
“I see this as one step in a bigger journey of being a part of the kingdom of God coming to this neighborhood. Providing healthy meals that parents can throw in the oven and enjoy with their families is one small but important facet of that,” said Visker.
“Jesus fed people; so should we. I’m excited to discover what next steps God will place before us in Swiss Village.”