GEORGETOWN — When members of Georgetown First United Methodist Church decided to offer free meals to the community in 2009, they had no idea the program would be so successful.
“We just never dreamed it would take on a life of its own,” Pastor Matt Filicsky said.
Connie Rhoden, head of the Outreach Committee, agreed, saying, “It’s been quite a surprise. I didn’t think we’d be doing it for this long.”
The church will serve its 10,000th meal at the next community luncheon from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 31 in the church basement, 400 N. Main St.
Not only have the meals helped the community, but their success has revived the church members’ spirit. The result is that the church will tackle some renovations this year.
“It’s given the congregation a renewed spirit of purpose,” Filicsky said. “It gave people the thought, ‘we’re not dead. We can still do things.’”
Phase I of the project includes completely restoring the sanctuary, including the restoration of plaster, pews, lighting, sound system and handicap accessibility enhancements.
Filicsky said during the economic downturn of 2008, the board found itself with the worry of how the poor economy would affect the financial health of the church. More important, church members were concerned with how the poor economy was impacting the members of the community as a whole.
The members prayed about how to respond to the needs of their friends and neighbors — and a few members cooked up the idea of doing something different. Instead of selling meals to raise funds for a mission project or other church programs, the members decided to give away meals to raise spirits.
The church launched the first free community luncheon on Jan. 31, 2009, with plans to repeat this on the last Saturday of each month until the need no longer exists.