Dreves and almost two dozen volunteers spent portions of their day preparing and handing out free meals to drive-up and walk-up customers at the Franklin church.
Christ UM outreach coordinator Anne Bakker said the church used to hold monthly community dinners that drew of a crowd of about 150 people on a Friday night. When COVID-19 hit that put an end to that. Not willing to give up, Bakker asked the pastor, "Why can't we just feed them outside?" Pastor Darrell Greenawalt agreed.
They served their first drive-up walk-up meals by the end of April.
Bakker, who plans the menus, said they now serve over 400 meals a month. They serve them every other Wednesday in the church parking lot. Many people drive through and several others from the neighborhood walk over to get their meals.
"We've got some hungry folks in our community," Bakker said. She tries to have a different menu planned each week. Last week it was chicken and biscuits cooked mostly from scratch by a group of volunteers who started at noon for the 5 p.m. serving time.
Volunteer Karen Bingman agrees. "It's a great church. This [volunteering to prepare meals] is fun, the camaraderie is great," she said.
One fun aspect of the community sit down dinners was the hugs volunteers would receive from their guests. Since social distancing requirements suggest that is not wise, they have gotten a little creative. "Everyone Needs a Hug," a sign reads at the distribution area.
Now they give them out by way of the Hugs drink. They say it's one way to have a little fun and still be able to give out a hug and connect.
Providing all those meals does cost money, Bakker acknowledges. Church member donations and the pastor's discretionary fund are so far keeping the meals coming, she said.
Bakker said any monetary donations are helpful and can be sent to the church at 1135 Buffalo Street, Franklin, PA 16323
"Our members are so great and the community is so supportive," Bakker said