Churches provide free lunch for children at Venango County Fair
BY LEISEL KOBER
Local United Methodist Churches worked together Tuesday to distribute 300 lunches to youngsters who participated in the Venango County Fair.
“They’re waiting to show their pigs, eating their lunches and having fun,” volunteer Bert Taylor said.
The volunteers began handing out the lunches at 11 a.m., and by 12:15 p.m. only 30 were left.
“We feel like we make a friend when they leave the table,” said the Rev. Stephanie
Thompson, pastor of Nicklin and Center United Methodist churches. “They’re (the little kids) so excited about what they’re doing in the barns and we get to be a part of that.”
Nicklin, Center, East Grove, Deer Creek, Polk and Reynolds United Methodist churches all donated many items and hours to put together the treats for the kids.
A lot of the planning and organization of the volunteers is done by Betty Ghering, Amy Drewnowski and the Half-Bake Bakers at East Grove United Methodist.
“It has just been a wonderful experience for us,” Thompson said.
With the help of many more Venango County churches, the volunteers have been providing these lunches for seven years at the fair.
“It was fun and I got to know people too,” said the Rev. Drew Bell, pastor at East Grove and Polk UM churches. “It’s a mission and it’s a way for the churches to give back to the community.”
The lunches include a ham and cheese sandwich, fresh veggies, apple, chips and cookies with a small Bible pamphlet inside.
The 25 volunteers prepared the lunches Monday but made the sandwiches fresh Tuesday morning before arriving at the fair.
“The conference encouraged us to look for ways to outreach and give something back to the community,” Thompson said. “It’s really neat because some of the kids come and they’re looking forward to it.”
Kids who have to stay at the fair all week because of animal shows and other responsibilities sometimes have trouble affording fair food for seven days. That’s how the churches came up with the idea to give back and save participants a little bit of money.
“Nothing goes to waste and all the cuttings are going to the pigs and rabbits,” volunteer Ronald Emeigh said.
Republished with permission from The Derrick.
First Published Wednesday, August 5, 2015