The free lunch program at Second Christian Church in Jefferson City has become a summertime staple for many area children. The program began when Malissa Smith became the congregation’s Outreach Committee chair. She knew that she wanted to introduce people to the church and help the community, and this effort is definitely doing both!
The church’s local community is made up of many mid to lower income families who may sometimes have difficulty making ends meet. During summer vacation, neighborhood children are without not only a school-provided lunch, but the weekly ‘buddy packs’ of supplemental food they might also receive when school is in session. So Melissa and the committee decided to step out on faith and feed the hungry children.
It started slowly at first but has grown in popularity, reaching a to-date record of feeding 117 children in the single hour of that day’s service.
Of course, such a program needs lots of support, and the Outreach Committee has it! Many volunteers lend their time and talent to preparing and distributing the lunches each day. And then there’s the matter of funding it… The impact of this wonderful program on the church’s operating budget has been exactly ZERO dollars. It is fully funded by community members and local businesses who make both financial and food donations, even providing for a few extra-special events like pizza day and cookout day throughout the summer. The church has also added a couple of fundraisers, including a raffle, to their annual activities to supplement the program.
What it takes on the congregation’s part is the space, the volunteers, the organization of the donors, and the desire to make a difference. If you’d like more information about this program, see their recent coverage in the Jefferson City News Tribune. Malissa is also happy to share and encourage other congregations with similar efforts. She can be reached at the church (573) 635-8349. Second Christian Church's pastor is Vernell Weston and co-pastor is Penny Weston. They celebrated their second anniversary leading the church just yesterday. Congratulations!