Church group to serve meal at Cherry Street MissionWritten by David Yonke Editor, ToledoFAVS.com | | David.Yonke@ReligionNews.com
One smile, one plate of food, one good deed at a time — and definitely some dessert. That’s the plan Norm Carlton has in mind when men from St. Michael’s in the Hills Episcopal Church serve dinner April 15 at the Cherry Street Mission.
Carlton, 71, a Toledo native and a sales representative in the metal finish and supplies business, has organized about 25 volunteers from the Ottawa Hills church’s men’s group, dubbed “Mondays at Mike’s,” to serve a meal cooked by Ida’s Catering.
“We will be serving 200-300 guests — and Cherry Street Mission insists that these people are their guests,” Carlton said.
The meal of roasted chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, tossed salad and ice cream — adding dessert was an important touch for the men’s group — was funded by the Easter weekend offering at St. Michael’s in the Hills.
“The entire parish will be engaged in the project because St. Michael’s is giving a portion of its Easter weekend offering to Cherry Street,” said the Rev. Greg Sammons, co-rector of St. Michael’s in the Hills. The beige brick church, built in 1957, is situated on a tree-laden lot at 4718 Brittany Road in Ottawa Hills.
Roz Goodwin, director of stewardship services for the mission, spoke earlier this year at the church’s three weekend services, which have a combined attendance of about 300.
“She really ignited some people,” Carlton said.
Goodwin said Cherry Street Mission Ministries serves between 200 and 250 meals at a time, three times a day. The Christian nonprofit served a total of 273,646 meals in 2011.
“We do that with no government support, and being a Christ-centered organization, it’s always a blessing when a faith community like St. Michael’s actually ‘walks out’ the Great Commission,” Goodwin said.
In addition to serving food, the Monday at Mike’s men’s group will provide music and its members said they are looking forward to getting to know the shelter’s guests, hear their stories and offer some encouragement.
“Every human has a story,” Goodwin said. “I tell volunteers every day that it could be you and your testimony that touches the heart of our guests and gives them hope. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about — it’s about hope and about transforming lives through the power of Jesus Christ.”
Carlton said he has a special fondness for Cherry Street because when he was a child, his father would send him down to the mission with a bag of clothes and a check to donate. “He gave to Cherry Street his whole life,” Carlton said.
While Monday’s meal will mark the first time St. Michael’s in the Hills is working with Cherry Street, the church has “a passionate commitment … to be a servant to God’s world,” Sammons said.
He pointed to St. Michael’s work with FOCUS Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Food for Thought and the Salvation Army and said the church is helping the Christ the King Church in Chanika, Tanzania, to build a hostel that would provide income and a place for guests to stay.
Jeff Glosser, a member of St. Michael’s in the Hills’ vestry, said church members want to provide not only a hearty meal but also to help Cherry Street in its quest to help guests get their lives back on track.
“We’re hoping it gives people a platform to help lift themselves out of their situation,” Glosser said.
Carlton and Glosser both said they are hoping that Monday’s meal will be the first step in an ongoing collaboration with the mission.
“We don’t want this to be a ‘one and done’ deal,” said Glosser, who works in management at Therma-Tru Doors. “Norm has done a pretty good job of getting people of all age groups excited and signed up.”
“Getting people motivated is part of my job in sales,” Carlton said. “I really hope this is a kickoff for a repeat. Everything about this project has been cool, fun and exciting.”
Visit www.saintmichaelsepiscopal.org to learn more.
David Yonke is the editor and community manager of Toledo Faith & Values (ToledoFAVS.com), a website that provides in-depth, nonsectarian news coverage of religion and spirituality in the Toledo area.
Tags: Cherry Street Mission