Ocean View Church of Christ offering free hot meals
In January, the Compass, a new youth church for teens and young adults at the Ocean View Church of Christ, began their Mobile Outreach program, which provides free hot meals to go every Wednesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hocker’s Supercenter parking lot.
“There was a group of us in the church who just felt there was a need in our community,” explained Sandy Wilgus, who has been volunteering with the outreach program. “It’s something the teens are sort of undertaking, but there’s a lot of adult help. It’s just growing and I think there’s a need in the community for something like that. Lots of other churches have free lunches, but we decided to do a dinner.”
Wilgus said that the church had already started a food and clothing bank but decided to start providing free hot meals after they were contacted by many community members who were in need of food.
On Wednesday nights, a mobile trailer provided by a volunteer is outfitted with a number of hotplates and other equipment, so that anything from spaghetti to chili to hamburgers can be made for those who need a meal.
“We just try to make a hot meal,” said Wilgus. “We’ve been pretty successful with it so far. We haven’t really advertised it too much. There’s been a sign outside of our church, and then the very first night we just set up. We didn’t know what would happen but people came.”
The group has also used the church’s clothing bank to help provide those who are in need, with warm coats during the winter months.
“On that same night we give away free coats,” explained Wilgus. “We just take a rack of coats out every Wednesday night, and we’ve given away a lot of coats. There’s hardly been a Wednesday where we haven’t given out at least a dozen.”
The group has now even started delivering meals by request, to those who are unable to or would rather not leave their homes, through contacting the church or the request of others.
“Now we have expanded it just a little bit more,” said Wilgus, who added they are up to 25 home deliveries each Wednesday. “You don’t really know the need. You think you know, but when you start doing something, it really becomes obvious there is a need and it’s not the types of people you think. I think our economy has affected all types of people.”
So far, the mobile meals outreach has provided approximately 400 hot meals to local families. Even though the program was started this year, many have already made donations to the group’s efforts, which – along with the support from the church – has been able to finance it.
“We’ve been amazed at the donations — people that we don’t know, or know us, and these are people who aren’t even getting meals — they’ll drive by and see what we’re doing and just come give money. It’s been amazing the way that’s happened. Sometimes the people who get meals give a donation, and we don’t ask for donation. We’ve received some nice donations.”
Wilgus said the parishioners are there, faithfully, every week – rain, snow or shine. She said she hopes that the hot meals program will continue to meet the physical needs and to show the love of Christ, and serve the community as long as there is a need.
The Ocean View Church of Christ’s food bank is available to community members, by appointment every other Monday. For more information, or to donate, call (302) 539-7468.