LaGrange First Methodist offers free barbecue with new ‘Second Saturday’ meal program

Published 8:20 am Friday, July 10, 2020

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Four churches spanning three blocks along Broad Street in LaGrange have worked in sync for years to provide a free meal every weekday to individuals in need. Each has adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue providing those meals, and now, one will begin offering a free hot meal on the second Saturday of each month.

The First United Methodist Church of LaGrange invites anyone who needs a hot meal to come to its “Second Saturday” meal program between 11:30 a.m. and noon this Saturday, July 11, for a free plate of pork barbecue and a drink.

Visitors should come to the church just across Vernon Street from the parking lot between the LaGrange Memorial Library and the church. If driving, one should access the church’s parking lot on the Broad Street side.

Church volunteers will be outside the church doors to distribute the free meals. Rick Free, the church’s director of food servicessaid handing out grab-and-go meals isn’t the church’s usual way of serving food to the community, but it helps to ensure the health and safety of the individuals receiving a meal as well as the church’s volunteers.  

Like our sister churches just down the street, we’ve had a community soup kitchen for more than three decades,” Free said. “Not only have we all tried to provide food to those who are hungry, but we also want to provide a place where they can sit down and enjoy a meal and good conversation, where they can cool off when it’s hot, or warm up when it’s cold outside.

I’ve gotten to know people in LaGrange who have been coming here regularly for 10 to 15 years, and I’ve seen others come in who I haven’t seen again. Part of staying open through the pandemic is to let our friends know they can rely on us to stick with them through all this.”

In addition to the new “Second Saturday” meals, LaGrange First Methodist also offers a Monday soup kitchen and a Wednesday sack-lunch program, both from 11:30 a.m. to noon. First Baptist Church on the Square offers free meals on Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange offers free meals on Thursdays from 11:30 to noon.  

Working in partnership with the LaGrange College Servant Scholars program, Broad Street Church of Christ offers meals to the community through the Our Daily Bread program on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Broad Street Church of Christ also offers a special Friday gift: volunteers bake 30 handmade loaves of bread to offer guests.

Like First Methodist, the other three churches have moved their traditional indoor meals to walk-by and drive-up boxed meals.

First Baptist’s Tuesday program is located at the doors behind the church office in the parking lot accessed by Haralson Street. At First Presbyterian, visitors should go to the back entrance near the playground, and when facing the back of the church, go to the left of the church to reach the drive-through overhang. At Broad Street Church of Christ, meals will be available at the door by the large parking lot.

“So many people’s lives have been turned upside down by layoffs, furloughs, and sickness these past four months, and they may not know about the free meals offered by our four churches because they’ve never had the need before now,” Free said. “We want people to know that all four churches have wonderful, caring masked volunteers who genuinely are hoping to see people, give them a smile, and quickly hand them a plate of food, no questions asked.