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Church answers call to ‘feed my sheep’

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com

The weekly dinners at Carson City’s Freedom Church are as much about nourishing the soul as they are about the casseroles.

“It’s more to draw in the lonely,” said church secretary Kate Robinson. “People who just need community, who need to be loved on.”

Robinson came up with the idea a little over a year ago after reading a book about Mother Teresa.

“She considered all people in all positions to be her brothers and sisters,” Robinson said. “It just sort of sparked something in me.”

She started with the idea to cook a meal once a week for a person or family in need. But then she decided to make it bigger.

When she approached her pastor, James Parker, with the idea of the church providing a weekly meal for the community, he supported her.

“When people have a vision, I give them the platform to do it,” he said. “I want to get out of the way and let them be who God wants them to be.”

So the Tuesday night potluck dinners were born.

Each week, volunteers from the church bake and fry and boil up dishes to share with their neighbors.

Although they’re never quite sure how many people are going to show up, there’s always been enough, Robinson said.

“It’s such an act of faith,” she said. “There’s definitely a fishes and loaves type of thing going on.”

Marjeana Bloom is a young wife and mother and nursing student, leaving her with little free time or disposable income. Still, she volunteers regularly to bring food to the dinners.

“It makes me happy, and I love to cook,” she said. “If I’m going to cook a meal for my family anyway, it doesn’t cost that much more to feed a few more people. Rather than going out to Starbucks or out to drinks with my girlfriends, I’d rather spend my income on this.”

Alison Orris, a stay-at-home mom, also cooks weekly.

“This is a good opportunity for me to meet people in the community, and I really have a heart for serving other people.”

Diana Fediw brought her children Lydia, 5, and Jackson, 2, to the dinner last week, and plans to do so more often.

“It’s nice,” she said. “You get to relate to the community outside of the church environment.”

So far, there have been a few members of the community show up to the meals. For the most part, it has been church members.

Robinson hopes to get the word out and invite more to partake, especially on Tuesday, when they will be celebrating their one-year anniversary with kids games, face painting, a Guitar Hero station and other activities.

Mason Peterson, who regularly attends with his son, Mylez, 2, recommends others join in.

“Everyone could use a free meal,” he said. “Plus, it’s good fellowship. God is good.”