Thursday Night Community Dinners
“I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you have me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Matthew 25:35 CEB
A few winters ago, Rev. Zach Bay and CCM Director Eric Martin met and discovered that they shared a mutual desire: to offer a free hot meal to any and all who might come in hopes of helping ease the burdens of poverty on our neighbors.
Zach said, “Well, we don’t have the food, but we have the space to host a meal.” Eric said, “Well, we don’t have the space to host a meal, but we have the food.” Out of the conversation in February of 2018 came a new way for First Baptist Church and the Cooperative Christian Ministry to partner to do ministry “unto the least of these” right here in Bell County. Because First Baptist Church was a charter member of CCM over 40 years ago, the connections and institutional organization were already in place, and the partnership has been seamless.
Thursday night Community Dinners have two primary guiding values:
- Feed persons experiencing food insecurity and poverty.
- Create space for such persons to enjoy fellowship with one another, FBC folks, and CCM folks around a table in a beautiful and comfortable place.
Because of these two values, we do Community Dinners a particular way:
We do not serve food from a line, but rather, our volunteers seat guests, take their drink orders, and bring a plate to their tables. We also keep up with refills and second servings. We serve our guests with their human dignity in mind, asking “How would I want to be treated in this place?”
We do not deliver meals to homes, but rather, ask that guests come to the church house on Thursday evenings. Whether for them personally or for another who cannot make it down to the church house, we will box up and send meals home with them upon request.
We welcome all volunteers who desire to get to know the name and the person behind the stereotypes that are associated with poverty, drug abuse, and homelessness.
In Matthew 25:35-36, Jesus said,
“I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.”
We do Community Dinners not because Jesus told us to do so. We do Community Dinners because Jesus told us that’s where we would meet him.
Come and see, and get to know your neighbors.
You may just discover that you are “entertaining angels unawares,” or meeting Jesus where he lived and ministered most of his life.
About our Partner in Ministry
The Cooperative Christian Ministry has been doing work to alleviate the devastating effects of poverty in Bell County for over 40 years. An association of local churches, CCM draws funding from generous congregations, individuals, and businesses. CCM is a trusted institution for local missions in Middlesboro.
You can give to support CCM by visiting our Giving page and choosing “CCM” under Fund.