‘Are You Hungry’ brings locals together
Pastor Wayne Rimmer of the New Hope Assembly of God is very pleased with the success of the church’s student feeding program. Five years ago, the elderly congregation asked themselves what they could do for the community.
Many members enjoy cooking, and they knew there was a large population of students in the community. That’s how they came up with the idea: offer a home-cooked meal to the University students.
They call the program “Are You Hungry?”
“You never know the path that God has for these students. They need nurturing along the way,” said Kathleen Shutts, one of the cooks.
Marie Crum, the “Spaghetti Queen” as her fellow cooks have affectionately called her over the years, is motivated by a comment one of her nieces made.
“Some of my dorm mates eat one big meal of Oodles of Noodles. Nothing else.”
Every Tuesday this church prepares a dinner for 30 students. This past week they served roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and, of course, desserts.
Based on the success, which was measured by the number of satisfied students, the church invested in a kitchen renovation.
“The church members are very supportive,” said Norma Hillyard, another active cook. “They donate food, money and lots of time.”
The goal of the program is one of outreach, offering some comfort to the students. Meals served with a heaping side order of hospitality keep the students coming every Tuesday. Some students come to worship on Sundays, too.
Emma Cook, Shepherd University sophomore, enjoys the evening so well that she set up a Facebook group that lets everyone know about the program and the weekly menu.
Tuesday she has six hours of class.
“I was sitting in class counting the minutes until dinner,” Cook said.
Leah Raubaugh, an SU nursing major, added, “I look forward to this all week.”
Scott Hubert, an SU student, has been coming regularly for the last three years.
“Free, great food and nice people. Why wouldn’t you come?”
It’s not just the food that keeps these students coming back, it’s the ladies cooking their meals in the kitchen. They know all the kids by their name. They greet them with hugs. On Sunday morning, if the students are a little late getting to the service, the cooks jump up out of their seats to come and greet the students.
“You never know if you’ve got the next Billy Graham in your pew,” Crum said.
The meals are served every Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. The brick church is on the corner of Route 45 and the 480 bypass. All Shepherd University students are welcome to attend.