By Jennifer Taylor
“Almost every church has a kitchen,” says Jane Dugan, a member at East Bartlesville (OK) Christian Church. “There’s no reason they couldn’t do something like this.”
“This” is providing a meal each weekday for 60 to 130 children at the nearby Boys and Girls Club, an after-school and summer program for kids. The club is a safe place for kids to do homework, play games, work on the computer, and eat dinner while waiting for their parents to get off work. EBCC volunteers cook every meal for the club’s hungry kids.
Dugan meets with the club’s nutrition director to plan the meals, and East Bartlesville’s church bulletin alerts the church to needs. Church members donate food or money and a core team of volunteers gathers to cook.
Despite this system, food shortages can be a problem.
“We use 20 to 30 pounds of ground beef each week,” Dugan says. “At one point I prayed, ‘God, I need a cow.’ Later that day a local farmer volunteered to donate one of his 1,200-pound cows and a local butcher offered to prepare the meat for free.”
The group also cooks a special Thanksgiving dinner for the kids and their parents, and the church may begin using its van to shuttle more children to the program on weekdays.
“We started out to help the kids,” Dugan says. “For some, it’s the only hot meal they get all day. But it’s been more of a blessing for us. God has provided at every turn and it has changed our lives to be part of it.”