by Lisa Tome
Jasper Bryant knows where to get a fresh, hot meal on Wednesdays.
Since spring, Wright's AME Church in Elkton hosts Wednesday lunch. The meal is open to anyone and is served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. every week.
"God works in mysterious ways. He's giving these people a place to come and nourish their body. Life is hard and people don't always have a place to go. This gives people a place to go. It gives them a place to enjoy themselves for an hour or two," said Bryant.
Marcella Gates, a church member, oversees the team of volunteers who prepare and serve the lunch.
"We started back in March," said Gates, who explained that the church used to serve a weekly meal. They revived the event in the spring and it has been a success.
"Our goal is to feed our community. We never know who is hungry. We don't know who has a need. The whole community just comes, sits, eats, and talks. And we get to know the people in the community," said Gates. Regina Sewell helps oversee the meal. Barbara Forte and Gloria White do the cooking. Others help to serve. "It's the same group helping all the time," said Gates.
The church supplies the help and the facility. The food is donated by a local company, Burris Logistics of Elkton.
Last week's menu was breakfast for lunch: sausage, biscuits, eggs, oatmeal, fruit, and beverages. A representative from the Cecil County Health Department was also at the event last week, providing community education.
Those who attend are all ages. Some come during a work break. Others are housed at Elkton-area shelters. As part of the lunch, there is also a food and blanket distribution. Used, gently worn clothing and new blankets are given to those who need them.
James Shipley attends the weekly lunch. "It's awesome. I look forward to coming here every Wednesday," said Shipley.
Brett Marden also turned out. "The food is great. This is my first time here. I heard about this and am glad I came," said Marden.
"They have good, fresh hot food all the time. It's not pre-made and reheated," said Sean Ruffin.
The event is part of the Wilson Purdie Outreach Ministry.
For Thanksgiving, on November 28, Wright's AME will host a community meal beginning at 3 p.m. Volunteers are needed. What is also needed are food donations including both cooked and uncooked turkeys, side dishes, and paper goods and plastic utensils. Those who want to help or donate for that meal are asked to call Marcella Gates at 302-690-3546.