Loaves and Fishes Ministry - Thankful!

November was the perfect month to show our thankfulness for our Loaves & Fishes volunteers and to give gifts of thankfulness to the recipients at the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen.

What is our Loaves & Fishes Ministry?
Loaves and Fishes is a soup kitchen that operates out of Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church 359 days a year.  Multiple churches and community organizations volunteer 1 or more evening a month to provide food and serve a meal at the kitchen.  Alive In Christ has been involved in this ministry for numerous years (approximately 2 decades).  We currently serve at Loaves and Fishes 2 evening per month (1st & 4th Tuesdays).  There are many teams at Alive In Christ that serve on the overall Loaves and Fishes Ministry Team.  The AIC Loaves & Fishes team has over 30 volunteers including people both from AIC and from elsewhere.
Ministry leadership - Lisa Stevens is our overall lead for this ministry.  Lisa is pictured above recognizing and thanking the many volunteers of this ministry.  A huge shout out to Lisa who as a volunteer keeps this ministry going at AIC month after month and for her huge heart for the population the ministry serves.
Shopping  - We have volunteers who shop in bulk and look for bargains in order to keep the cost down.  Did I mention we feed from 60-125 people each night we serve!  Currently Karla Adeshakin is our shopper. THANK YOU Karla!  A shout out also to the Wohlmans and Bartels who served faithfully in that role for years.
Cooking  - There is a team of ladies led by Peg Kaden that meets the 1st Tuesday of every month to prepare meals for the month.  On any given 1st Tuesday you will find 6-10+ women in the AIC kitchen cooking.  They have the meal prep down to a finely tuned machine!  Below are some pictures of the ladies cooking!  A fun fact...our involvement in the Loaves and Fishes ministry began before the church addition (i.e. before we had a kitchen).    Originally meals were prepared in member's homes.  Dot Harrison can tell you about that!  She is one of several members that have been involved with this ministry from the early days.
Heating & Delivering - Once the ladies are done cooking on the 1st Tuesday, they put the food for that night into the oven to cook.  The meal for the 4th Tuesday goes into the freezer.  When the fourth Tuesday comes, the food needs to be pulled from the freezer and put into the ovens.   The pans of food are large and heavy so this is not an easy task.   Currently Nate Simmons, Peg Kaden, or the office staff heat the food.  There have been numerous other volunteers over the years.  Once the food is heated, the food from the oven as well as cookies, fruit, and other sides are transported from AIC to Wilkes Blvd.  Jeff Phillips and Hank Clark are our current delivery team.  Richard Vogel and many others have faithfully filled this role previously. Jeff is pictured below unloading the food at Wilkes.
Cookies - Above the delivery of cookies were mentioned.  Besides the 1st Tuesday cooks, we also have 2 volunteers who bake approximately 12 dozen cookies each and every month.

Serving - Another set of AIC volunteers arrive at Loaves & Fishes before the food.  They begin getting drinks prepared and things set up to serve.  In the pictures below you can see many familiar faces.  Some of the serving volunteers have served month after month for years and others are relatively new.  In addition to people who attend AIC, the serving team includes friends and neighbors of our volunteers.

Thanking our volunteers -  one of the things that makes the AIC Loaves and Fishes ministry different than other ministries at AIC is that each team (i.e. cooks, servers, cookie bakers, etc) operate separately from each other.  On November 22nd we had the privilege of bringing all of the teams together at AIC to thank them for what they do and to also hear their stories about how they got into this ministry.  We were wowed by the amazing stories and hearts of these volunteers.
Gifts of Thankfulness

Recognizing our many blessings, AIC delivered gifts of Thankfulness to the recipients of  meals at Loaves and Fishes on November 23rd.  Through generous grants from Walmart's Local Community Grant Program and AIC outreach funds we were able to supply 110 individuals with sleeping bags and backpacks filled with snacks, hand warmers, t-shirts, Bibles, ponchos, toothbrushes and toothpaste.  

It took many hands to assemble these gifts.  All the items had to be purchased, unpacked, tags removed, bags stuffed, and finally loaded and transported to Loaves and Fishes.  Thank you to the team who came in to unpack the numerous boxes and remove tags and to the Loaves and Fishes volunteers who stuffed backpacks and loaded up vehicles after the volunteer recognition dinner.

Pictured above are the numerous boxes of supplies that were delivered that were included in the gifts of Thankfulness.  A special shout out to the Walmart foundation for the grants and to our Fed-Ex delivery guy....he delivered every box with a smile on his face!

Unpacking boxes and removing tags.

Assembling the gifts.

Handing out gifts and serving food.

If you would like to become involved in any part of the Loaves and Fishes Ministry at Alive In Christ or just want to learn more, contact Lisa Stevens or Tammy Wiese (tammy@aic.org).

1 Comment

Mary player - March 7th, 2022 at 12:23pm

Room at The Inn is closing for the Spring. I still desire to volunteer at Loaves and Fishes. Can you give me instructions on how I sign up?