When two Christian Reformed churches in British Columbia sensed a growing desire to feed people in need in their communities, both decided to start meal programs that have since grown to involve many from outside their church walls.
Agassiz Christian Reformed Church started serving a weekly hot supper in their small town five years ago. Six rotating teams of volunteers prepare and serve dinner to 25 to 40 guests every Tuesday night in the local Christian school.
Sylvia Pranger, one of the program leaders, explained how the ministry has expanded. “Several local businesses donate groceries every week; a local farmer has donated meat; and volunteers from other churches have joined us. Even the local health unit donates its funds from “Jeans Friday” every week. This ministry has really helped our church reach out into our town.”
Duncan Christian Reformed Church is entering its 14th year of hosting community dinners. Up to 25 volunteers arrive at the church once a month to cook for approximately 200 people.
While the regular monthly meal is supported financially by the church and its members, the annual Christmas meal at Duncan CRC is jointly hosted with the local food bank. Other churches and local community service groups join in the effort to feed 400 people a special holiday dinner.
“The community dinners are one of the most practical and successful ways we reach into our community,” explained one of the organizers, Affie Duifuis. “Volunteers spend time talking to the people, eat with them, and get to know them. We also provide some spiritual food as we share a short Scripture passage and prayer and a Christian video for the children. It’s really been a blessing to have these dinners, not only for those who come to eat but for all those who come to volunteer!”