Like clockwork every Tuesday groups from Garden Lakes Baptist, First United Methodist, Second Avenue United Methodist, Chapel Hill United Methodist, Wesley Methodist, Second Avenue Baptist, First Christian, First Baptist Cave Spring, Westminster Presbyterian, First Baptist Rome and Second Avenue UMC gather downstairs at First Christian Church to assemble packages for the Meals and More program.
Each Tuesday representatives from several of the churches come together, prepare food and spend time with the needy at Rome’s First Christian Church on Second Avenue. The different churches involved coordinate to pack different sandwiches accompanied by healthy snacks and provide toiletries and even gloves in the winter.
Those who come to Meals and More to get food are thankful but know the reason behind the group.
“You don’t have to shake them to make them understand why we’re here,” Davies who is the community relations advisor for the program said “It’s unfortunate that groups like us have to exist, but it’s also fortunate we’re here.”
The group provides 65 to 100 meals to individuals in need each week. However, Davies and Stewart make it clear that the group doesn’t just provide food for those who need it.
“We don’t just give out food and I guess that’s when the word “more” comes in. You’d define “more” in many different ways,” said Horace Stewart, associate pastor of First Christian Church on Second Avenue where the food is distributed. “We have been known to pray with people who ask for it on the spot and it’s a good way to get out of the cold in the winter and out of the heat in the summer. We provide restrooms, and we’re here for them in any way they need.”
Stewart and Davies helped form the group over 10 years ago and now they say they don’t have to do much to keep the momentum going.
“We just provide the venue, and the churches involved do the rest. Getting food to the needy has just become routine, and that’s great,” Stewart said.
Jan Franseen, who attends Second Avenue United Methodist, got involved with the group only recently. “I’m retired now,” she says “I know I’ve been fortunate and I want to help those who are less fortunate.”
“It’s great people get involved with the needy in other countries, but there is a need here especially since many have hit hard times due to the current economy. I like the hands-on interaction this provides,” Barbara Christian from Chapel Hill UMC.
Darlington fifth-grader Chloe Duck, another member of Second Avenue UMC, said she comes and helps with Meals and More instead of playing outside because it makes her feel good to see others happy.
The group has also gotten attached to their cause and the individuals who show up each week.
“You meet some of the nicest people” Stewart says, “and this meets a very simple need of Christian caring.”
For more information or to volunteer with Meals and More, contact Stewart at 706-766-8421 or Davies at 706-346-3325.