Singing for their supperFaith United Methodist Church aims to put a song in your heart and food on their shelves at the same time. Broadway tunes, barbershop harmonies and easy-listening tunes will be featured during “A Musical Night to Remember,” which starts at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the church, 1531 Hughitt Ave.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Faith United Methodist Church aims to put a song in your heart and food on their shelves at the same time. Broadway tunes, barbershop harmonies and easy-listening tunes will be featured during “A Musical Night to Remember,” which starts at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the church, 1531 Hughitt Ave. Members of the audience will also get a chance to sample homemade pie and ice cream following the performance.
“It’s good down-home entertainment,” said Don Johnson, coordinator of the church food pantry. “There will be a variety of really good music with some comedy sprinkled in.”
Tunes will be provided by The Downbeats, The Harbormasters and Superior Community Theater. Songs will range from “Make ‘em Laugh” and “Some Enchanted Evening” to “Lida Rose” and “Down by the Riverside.”
“I think it is just wonderful these people are willing to come, donate their time and talents for the benefit of others,” said Bonnie Thoorsell, coordinator of the church’s Meals Outreach Ministry, which provides free community meals the first and fifth Sunday of each month.
It’s good entertainment at a good price for a good cause, she said. Admission is $5 for adults and children attend for free.
The church food pantry is open 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday. But it is stretched tight these days.
“A year ago we probably served 25-30 families per week while now we are averaging right around 40 per week,” Johnson said. Some items like peanut butter and canned fruits, vegetables and soups are in high demand. Others, like pork and beans, languish on the shelves.
Johnson makes weekly trips to Second Harvest Great Lakes Food Bank to bolster the food supply with fresh baked goods and produce as well as frozen meat. Monetary donations stretch farther with the help of the food bank and Super One Foods.
“It’s been a struggle” to keep food on the shelves, Johnson said, even with generous donations from the annual postal carriers’ food drive and other sources.
“We’ll keep going one way or another,” he said, but they could use help.
Following a successful lasagna dinner fundraiser this spring, volunteers decided to give a musical benefit a try.
The church’s Meals Outreach Ministry serves about 125 meals on the first Sunday of each month. When there is a fifth Sunday, that number more than doubles because volunteers provide meal delivery.
“We always go with a meat, potato, vegetable, dessert and roll,” on fifth Sunday dinners, Thoorsell said. Many of the people who have meals delivered or drop by the church to eat are alone. “A lot of them would never cook a meal like this for themselves.”
The meals ministry began in 1991. Thoorsell said she enjoys volunteering for the program because of the camaraderie of the people working and the friendship of the people they serve.
“Some have been coming for years,” she said. “They’re like part of the family.”
Other churches host free meals during the month as well – five Lutheran churches team up to serve a meal at Faith United Methodist on the second Sunday; United Presbyterian Church hosts a meal the third Sunday; First Evangelical Covenant Church offers a meal on the fourth Sunday. All meals begin at 4 p.m. and are open to the public. Faith United Methodist also offers noon meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
One thing that may help ease the strain on the church food pantry is the Ruby’s Pantry site that opened this month at Zion Lutheran Church in Superior. A total of 501 shares were distributed. Patrick Ziems, pastor of Zion Lutheran, estimated between 750 and 900 people stopped by to stand in line for the $15 shares of food, which are available to anyone.
“I was thrilled,” Ziems said, that the program filled such a need. The church will distribute food the second Monday of every month. A second Ruby’s Pantry site will open on Oct. 18 at Christ Lutheran Church to distribute food the third Thursday of every month. Registration begins at both sites at 4:30 p.m. with distribution beginning at 5 p.m.