More than 100 people streamed into the New Hope Baptist Church in Creswell for Wednesday night’s community dinner. People from all walks of life come to the dinner, and the church does it as a way to give back to the town.
“It seems like we have a lot of marginalized people that come in. I don’t necessarily want to say homeless, but close,” said Zody Donovan, the evening’s lead cook. “I think we have a lot of people that are low-income that need a little help. For a lot of them, this may be the one hot meal they get a week.”
The meal has its challenges. Finding the best price for ingredients, making sure the meal is healthy and that it stays affordable for the church are some of the biggest challenges they face.
“Obviously, we can’t fix steak and lobster every night,” Donovan said.
Still, people showed up in droves for Nesco roasters of potato soup, trays of turkey-and-cheese sliders, baskets of cheesy biscuits and boats of poke cake.
Putting the meal on is never a problem — and five years in, it doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon.
Most Wednesdays, volunteers are in to cook for whomever would like to join them, congregant or not. On Dec. 18, the church will have a special holiday meal with 15 turkeys that night provided by True Value.
For Donovan and the other volunteers who make the meal happen, it’s all about serving their savior.
“A lot of times it’s how we act. I don’t have to quote Scriptures to them, but I have to show them that I love them just like Jesus Christ did,” Donovan, 64, said.
It can be just as rewarding personally, too.
“You come home tired, but it’s a good tired,” said meal volunteer Nancy Tipton, 83. “I get a joy doing this.”
New Hope Baptist Church is located at 597 S. Front St. in Creswell. They serve community meals most Wednesdays, though they will not be serving tonight due to the Thanksgiving holiday.