By Tim Pallesen
Feeding the poor is a challenge for people of faith.
Volunteers responded by serving 88,691 hot meals last year at the Caring Kitchen in Delray Beach.
That’s a 50 percent increase over the 59,034 meals served in 2005, and the need continues to grow.
“Scripture calls us to respond to people in need in our community,” said the Rev. Pam Cahoon, executive director for the nonprofit Christians Reaching Out to Society, which operates the kitchen at 196 NW Eighth Ave. “People won’t come unless they’re really hungry.”
In addition to hot meals, C.R.O.S. Ministries also distributed emergency food last year to 47,055 people from food pantries in Delray Beach and five other cities. That’s a 58 percent increase since 2005.
The overall effort requires over 2,000 volunteers each year from more than 100 congregations.
“We work ecumenically, recruiting volunteers from congregations,” Cahoon said. “They won’t volunteer unless they are good, caring people.”
Volunteers at the Caring Kitchen serve breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday plus dinner four days each week.
“I came 12 years ago to pitch in on Christmas Day and I’ve been here ever since,” volunteer Doug Fischer said. “I get more out of it than I give. I feel good when I leave here.”
“It’s become the highlight of my week,” Sheila McLachlan said. “I have made friends who will last a lifetime. My husband became infected by the enthusiasm and jumped in to give a hand.”
Volunteers also deliver hot meals to shut-ins three days a week. Cason United Methodist Church distributes bag lunches on weekends.
“I’m so proud that we never had to close our kitchen or a pantry for a lack of food,” Cahoon said. “We’ve never run out.”
But the recession nearly made that impossible. So Cahoon appealed to churches and synagogues to increase their food donations by 20 percent to 50 percent.
“Because the need went up so quick, we called them all and asked them to stretch,” she said. “Most of them did.”
Calvary United Methodist Church celebrated the 100th anniversary of Lake Worth’s first baptism on April 15 by performing more baptisms for descendants of the congregation’s charter members.
James and Myrtle Haney were the first to present their children Fay and Everett for baptism on April 14, 1912. The Haney family and other farmers had moved from the Midwest to raise strawberries in Lake Worth. They built Calvary’s church the next winter.
Calvary’s centennial begins the celebration of all of Lake Worth’s 100 years of history. The architect for the first church, G. Sherman Childs, also built an ocean bathhouse in 1912 north of what is now Lake Worth Beach. The city of Lake Worth was incorporated in June 1913.
“We’re happy about the joys of our past 100 years and looking forward to the next 100 years,” long-time church member Helen Gilmore said.
Gilmore’s great grandson, Brett Lamar Howard III, was one of four who were baptized at the centennial celebration. The child’s great-great aunt, Lulu Forshay, was a Calvary charter member.
Rabbi Ruvi New promises to reveal Jewish bedroom secrets in his Art of Marriage course that begins this week at the Chabad of East Boca.
The provocative six-week course explores marriage from both the spiritual and psychological points of view. Lessons are from both modern and ancient Jewish texts such as the Talmud and Zohar.
Individuals contemplating marriage are invited, along with newlyweds and couples who have been happily married for 25 years or more. Call 417-7797 for details.
The soccer season under way at First United Methodist Church in Boca Raton rewards players for their Christ-like behavior.
“It’s a combination of ministry and sports,” says Melissa Wells, director of children’s ministry. “A lot of the players don’t go to church, but they want to come because of the sports aspect.”
About 200 children ages 4 through sixth grade participate, experiencing Christ through game-day prayer and halftime devotions.
Every child gets equal playing time, unlike in the city’s soccer league. Coaches award colored stickers to players for soccer skills, memorizing Bible verses and their behavior toward others.
“We have players who normally wouldn’t play because of a disability,” Wells said. “If the other players rally around a disabled child to help him make a goal, they’re showing an attitude that Christ would.”
The Boca Raton soccer league is part of Upward Sports, a national Christian organization that oversaw 550,000 children playing soccer, basketball, flag football and cheerleading in 5,000 leagues and sports camps last year.
First United Methodist joins with Spanish River Church to sponsor a basketball league each winter.
Tim Pallesen writes about people of faith, their congregations, causes and community events. Email him at email@example.com.