Takeout containers

Since their first carry-out meal on March 19, they have served approximately 3,280 meals.

BROOK — Eight years ago, the group who envisioned the Brook Community Meals would have never imagined a line of cars stretching across town from the alley behind the Brook United Methodist Church waiting to pick up carry-out dinners and desserts. But when the State of Indiana went under a stay-at-home order on March 16, 2020, that’s exactly what happened. Those that had been serving the meal for many years were concerned that if they completely stopped serving the meal, there might be some people that would go hungry. Thus a ‘temporary’ plan was put in place where a group of younger people would do the cooking at the church on Thursdays while those in the higher-risk age group would do the prep work from their homes.

What began as just a ‘temporary fix’ has now continued for four months. Since their first carry-out meal on March 19, they have served approximately 3,280 meals. To serve so many, it has taken a huge joint effort, and it would not be possible without the dedication of so many. There is a large group of ladies who prepare desserts or do tasks such as cooking chicken or pork loin and shredding it in their homes as preparation for the meal on Thursday. There is another group of ladies (and sometimes men) that takes those prepared items and uses them to cook the meal that is distributed. There are people that pick up bakery goods from Strack & Van Til and bread from Murphy’s or the Kentland Food Pantry. There are some that do the shopping. There are some that come to help box up the food to be distributed.

Rose Acres delivers eggs right to the church’s refrigerator to be distributed each week along with the bakery goods and bread. The First Christian Church makes all the noodles that is used for chicken and noodles. Brook Locker works tirelessly to make meat available for the meals. Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry donates ground pork to distribute. They also receive many generous donations for the meal that have allowed them to distribute milk, cheese, hotdogs, peanut butter, and other groceries along with the eggs, bread, and bakery goods.

Along with the food, they have been able to provide spiritual assistance as well. Pastor Matt from Brook United Methodist Church takes the time each week to show concern for spiritual hunger that the people may also be experiencing. He speaks with each person in line to encourage them and pray with them when they have a need. In addition, the ABC Preschool teachers prepare a craft each week and post a video on the Brook Community Meal’s Facebook page to explain how to create the craft at home. They distribute a kit with the ingredients for their craft and also distribute the children’s bulletin as they make their way through the line of cars each week.

“When this all began in March, it was a scary time,” stated the Brook Community Meal group. “It has been our desire to ease people’s fears and loneliness as we help them through a difficult time financially because of businesses shutting down and people being forced to lose income. Our main goal has been to point them to Jesus. After all, it says in Matthew 25:37, 40, ‘Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ What better way to serve Christ than to serve others?”

If you would like to donate to help continue the ministry, please make your checks payable to Community Ministries and mail to Brook United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 214, Brook, IN 47922.