Some members of Linton First Christian Church had a vision in October 2015 that has blossomed into something that helps many in our community each month.
What started out as an outreach program — 2nd Saturday Soup in October 2015 — has turned into a monthly event at Linton’s Humphreys Park.
“At that time (2015), eight to 10 of us in the Making A Difference small group at Linton First Christian Church had been getting together weekly for quite some time for Bible study and to do occasional outreach projects in the community to help others,” church member Cindy Hale explained.
“We felt we were to do something more to connect with people as we lived out 1 John 3:18, ‘My children, we should love people not only with words and talk but by our actions and true caring’. It became obvious that we were being led to provide a hot meal to people in our community.”
The group planned on doing the 2nd Saturday Soup for three months, but it proved so successful it continues to this day.
“Our plan was to serve a meal on the second Saturday of the month for three months. But God had a much bigger plan,” Hale said. “So three months has turned into two-and-a-half years and still going.”
This month’s 2nd Saturday Soup will be this Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the east shelter house at Humphreys Park.
The 2nd Saturday Soup is one of the many outreach ministries at the local church, and Hale said there are over 40 people who serve together in this particular ministry. Hale, along with her husband Tim, and Randy and Julie Collins, help coordinate the 2nd Saturday Soup.
“The 2nd Saturday Soup & More is about showing Christ’s love to people. We want to let them know that each one of them matters to God and they matter to us,” Hale explained.
She stressed that everyone is invited to attend and no one is turned away.
“Sitting down to eat together is a way for people to connect with each other. It’s a time to listen when people want to share their joys and burdens, time to lend a shoulder to cry on, time to offer an encouraging word, or give a hug, time to visit with someone who is lonely, time to pray, time to celebrate family and friends, and time to become family and friends,” Hale said.
If someone seeks spiritual help while attending the 2nd Saturday Soup, a church member will help.
“We are there to meet people where they are, and help them spiritually. Volunteers are available to pray with people or talk with them about whatever spiritual matters they have,” Hale said. “There are also prayer request sheets at every table that people can fill out if they aren’t comfortable talking about their circumstances. Volunteers pray throughout the month for the prayer requests that we are aware of.”
Clothing is also available at the 2nd Saturday Soup if needed, at no cost.
“One of our volunteers, Jennifer Gilbert, makes sure the trailer is stocked with infant through adult size clothing along with jackets and coats if we have them. All of the items have been donated, and are in good condition,” Hale said. “The clothing is in a large trailer that is transported to the park for the 2nd Saturday Soup & More.”
Hale noted that blankets were recently added to the list of items they have available, and sometimes they have personal hygiene items available as well.
The food for the monthly event is donated, and most are homemade, Hale said.
“ Occasionally, monetary donations are received, and those funds are used to purchase food which the volunteers then prepare,” Hale said.
“During the colder months, our menu typically consists of three-to-six different varieties of homemade soup, a selection of sandwiches, and several desserts. Once the weather warms up we switch from soups to other items like grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, pulled pork, spaghetti, and other specialties or family recipes our volunteers come up with.”
Hale said during the winter months the meal is served inside one of the shelter houses at the Linton park.
“From June through September we will still be in the park, but will be located outside. We have a big blue and white tent, so folks can look for that as well as the signs and the Linton First Christian Church trailer,” Hale added.
She also stressed that the meal and other items are always available at no cost.
“We just want to love others as Jesus Christ loves every person — unconditionally. Matthew 25:35 says, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in’.”
Hale also shared John 3:17: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
“That’s what we want everyone to know, and that’s why we do what He has called us to do.”
Chris is the publisher of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (812) 847-4486.