Submitted by: Dave G. Ketelsen
The Mission Statement for the Hamilton Community Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., is “Connecting the disconnected by sharing Jesus through loving and serving.” Never in a million years did they expect to get so connected with their community using food.
After a tornado hit their church on Easter Sunday 2020, they decided to feed their neighbors and the volunteers. They fed about 150 hot meals every day, and continued to feed them for about a month. Then they decided to keep it going! So, every Tuesday evening they set up a tent by their busy crossroad on Shallowford, and about 50 neighbors would come through.
Word spread that they were serving meals, and it grew to 75 and then 100 meals served. It’s become so popular with their neighbors that they are now serving 250-300 meals each Tuesday evening.
The team will fix homemade burritos with Spanish rice, salad, and a dessert. The next Tuesday they might have lasagna, garlic bread, veggies, and dessert. Then they might serve pizza and burgers (real and veggie). Each meal is prepared with love and a prayer. Parents come through line and say how much it means to them to not have to cook one night a week.
One woman takes a few meals to give to the elderly in her neighborhood. A doctor came by and said, “I really like what you’re doing; here’s a donation,” and then he drove off. One five-year-old boy, Flint, each week gives his allowance. He even made the volunteers a homemade card.
Church members took a survey among those who eat the meals and found that many wanted to learn English. Now Hamilton Community Church offers an ESL class every Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
The church was recently given a car and the owner had it in tip top condition. The members went to the Lord in prayer and found a single mom in need. One couple from the church even decided to help with car insurance so the new owner wouldn’t have to worry about expenses for an entire year. The single mom drives up on Tuesday evenings with her brand-new-to-her car to get a few meals, and will often attend church services.
As a result of the Hamilton Community Church Tuesday evening meal ministry, the members plan to start a single moms’ car ministry. They will change oil and do minor mechanical work to help keep the cars in good working condition.
Perhaps the best of all is that church members are getting to know their neighbors. They have become friends and some have dropped by to worship on Sabbath mornings. It’s all about connecting the disconnected.
Georgia-Cumberland | March 2021