New ministry seeks the hungry and volunteers to serve them
Starting March 18, those needing a free meal can get one on Tuesday evenings at the Blessed John Paul II Parish, 3110 17 Mile Road (formerly Pioneer Christian Reformed Church).
The Parish has partnered with God’s Kitchen, a program of Catholic Charities of West Michigan, to bring this ministry to Cedar Springs. They will be serving a restaurant-style meal from 5:30-6:30 PM, which will include a salad, main course, vegetables, bread, and homemade desserts. The meals are open to anyone in the community. There is no fee, and no registration.
“Since we are a new parish in town, we wanted to find a way to help this community and be an asset,” said Katie Mendenhall, the Director of Christian Outreach at Blessed John Paul II.
She said that both she and Fr. Lam Le (Pastor at Blessed John Paul II) have had experience with this ministry before. “I used to teach at St. Mary School in Big Rapids and saw this ministry unfold beautifully at our Parish there. Every week people would gather—some that needed a meal and some who just came to socialize. It’s great for the servers, too. They get a chance to work with folks from different churches and organizations and get to mingle with the guests. The best part of the whole program is we all start out as strangers, but as time goes on, we become family.”
Mendenhall said they have been blessed to have support from the community for the program. Several churches have expressed an interest in helping or had members sign up to volunteer. “The amazing thing is, even though we have different beliefs, we can all come together for one cause—and that’s to make a difference in the community. To show God’s love by our actions; that’s really what it’s all about. And, to be a part of that, even in a small way, is a blessing in itself.”
People of all ages (including children) can volunteer to help in some way. If you would like to get involved by helping with serving, transportation, making desserts or have any questions please call Katie Mendenhall at Blessed John Paul II Parish at 616-696-3904. Volunteers are assigned to a team and will only have to serve one meal a month.