Custer Road completed its 10th year of its Summer Lunch Program August 6 and served over 6000 meals to children and adults over the 10-week program.
Thank you so much for the support of our congregation, Sunday school classes, YMSL Chapters, church staff and Kroger. Their support took multiple forms. Every day we had 4-8 volunteers (over 150 filled 300+ slots) join us at the park helping load, unload and distribute lunches, showing the love of Jesus Christ. We distributed over 1100 Weekend Snack Bags, most that were donated! We were back at Big Lake Park and able to set-up tables/benches, allowing people to stay and eat and fellowship with each other. The last week we passed out 200 school supply back packs. This year we expanded the share table and every Friday passed out fresh produce, peanut butter & jelly, rice & beans and pastas/sauce. The families love this and were able to prepare meals with it over the weekend.
Custer Road’s unwavering support has made this such an effective program and has given it the momentum to continue to grow and increase its engagement with the community.
This year we were so lucky to have the return of our 2020 coordinator Elizabeth Greer and welcomed a new assistant, Jenai Butler. Both Elizabeth and Jenai worked tirelessly every day to load the trailer and coolers, oversee volunteers at the park, distribute meals, provide fellowship, play sports with the kids and unload everything at the end of the day.
We thank Cristen Graf for her SLP Administrative Assistance with the Texas Department of Agriculture grant for the child meals and ordering lunches.
From our SLP Coordinator Elizabeth Greer:
This summer was fantastic! I was so grateful to be back out at Big Lake park with the whole set up! Jenai was amazing! I was happy to see old faces and friends from pre-Covid summers as well as embrace new faces. We enjoyed building on old relationships and strengthening new ones. Many families came every day to picnic, play and fellowship. It is such an amazing ministry. Whether onsite, online, or dropping off donations it takes a village… the Summer Lunch Program wouldn’t thrive the way it does without the help and support of our church staff and members… so, thank you to all involved making this summer such a joyous experience for everyone involved!
Perspective from Summer Lunch Volunteer Laura Farley
As a CRUMC member I’ve contributed to Summer Lunch for years. My adult children volunteered when they were younger, and I dropped by a time or two. This year I committed to take time away from work to be at Summer Lunch every Friday. This turned out to be the most amazing blessing for me. We can all get so wrapped up in our own lives we forget to notice the beauty that happens when children and families come together in the summer time. I saw kids from different families, different backgrounds come together each day to play outside – to laugh – to be silly – to fling wet sponges at each other – and slurp down a popsicle. I saw mothers who didn’t share the same language share extra diapers. I saw several young men drive up every Friday with music blaring as they stepped out of their car and sauntered over to our tents – and saw that toughness fade as they smiled and called out “Hey Miss Elizabeth!”. I saw babies passed around and hugged on. I laughed as I saw the shining faces of our young regulars as they became daily helpers – helping to wipe the tables, package up anything left on the “Share Table” and pick up trash. This year CRUMC also provided an abundance of produce and meal items on Fridays to help bridge the food gap between Friday and Monday. Witnessing some of the moms tell Kristina Stacy how wonderful her home-grown peppers were was the best – which turned into recipe sharing and food ideas. One sweet mom texted Elizabeth a picture of the delicious-looking guacamole she made from the fresh items she selected. My favorite though was seeing the excitement of a kid picking out fresh fruit – eating it under the tree – and coming back to ask for more. One young man wasn’t sure what a nectarine was – but he enjoyed all three he ate before heading home with his weekend bag. The last Friday was celebratory – but sad as no one wanted to break the routine that brought moments of simple joy and nourishment each day – especially in these difficult times. One mother who was a daily regular with her five children told me this summer had been just the best – and all because of this summer lunch program. They drove almost 30 minutes each way – each day – to share in the wonderful summer community we helped create. Summer Lunch was the best part of my summer!
This scripture is so true for serving our neighbors: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so, some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
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