Members of Faith Fellowship Cumberland Presbyterian Church early Saturday morning scooped home-cooked casseroles and sides into to-go boxes in preparation for the monthly senior mobile meal mission.
Laughter and chatter filled the church kitchen as volunteers brought in various dishes covered in aluminum, ready to be served to seniors in west Knox County.
The Saturday Senior Meals ministry is a supplemental weekend service to seniors who are on the Mobile Meals program.
“What we do is for those people who are on Mobile Meals already. They don’t serve them on the weekends,” Regina Stinnett, church member, said. “We just have a small group of them, and some of them are actually some of our church members that are not shut-ins exactly but have a hard time, in their 90s or something, so we send them a meal, too.”
Faith Fellowship works alongside three other churches to ensure seniors are guaranteed a meal every weekend.
“The way it works, we have four different churches participate in this, so we each take one weekend out of the month, unless there’s a fifth Saturday — then we just alternate between all of us — so they get something every Saturday,” Stinnett said.
The church has been active in the Saturday Senior Meals program for more than a decade, but their dishes remain the same. Three casseroles are typically served, along with sides of carrots and a dessert. The hot chicken salad casserole and carrots have been a consistent hit among seniors in the program.
“We always have a chicken casserole that we bring,” Carol Conklin, church member, said. “Some of the people that have been on the list forever say, ‘Oh, you’re the ones with the chicken casserole. I love your chicken casserole.’ And others like our carrots.”
The monthly act of service also allows the group to get to know the seniors personally. Before volunteers begin dishing out food, Stinnett reminds the others of how many meals catered to ailments, like diabetes, need to be made.
Conklin, who is involved with the delivery process, has even connected with seniors’ furry friends.
“Carol’s gotten to know exactly where the houses with dog are because she’s a dog lover, and she brings them treats,” Stinnett said.
Cooking the homemade dishes is an aspect of the program the group takes pride in as it shows an act of love.
“We’re called to take care of the widows and children, and extend that to the men, the widowers, so it’s just important to let them know that somebody cares about them and somebody loves them and somebody’s trying to take care of them,” Stinnett said. “Ours is just a tiny piece of doing that, but it’s something. I know it matters to them because we get cards and stuff from them and (they will) call the church and thank us for it.”
On a spiritual level, the monthly Saturday morning crowd feels said are also fulfilling what Jesus asked of Christians.
“We’re supposed to help the poor and the elderly, like Jesus told us to do,” Conklin said.