Fairmont United Methodist Church • Raleigh NC

a mission-oriented community

Our Mission Lunch Story to Tell

Sharing a meal is how I first came to Fairmont. It was in the mid-90s, on invitation from Pastor Steve Hickle to bring homeless men and women to the Christmas Eve service and eat a free dinner. I was the director of the Ark Shelter (now the Helen Wright Center), and this was a long tradition of service at Fairmont. It was January of 2002 when we started visiting Fairmont’s Sunday morning worship and became members.

Since that time, I have served as the co-coordinator of the bake sale at the bazaar, the cook on the work team, and the food coordinator of the Christmas Eve meal. This is my first year serving as the mission lunch coordinator, however, as Joyce Anne served in this role for literally decades!

A lot of things have changed with the lunches since the pandemic. Most are working well but we have a few rough spots to iron out. The change that has made things easiest is that we have gone to more of a SignUp Genius method, where folks can sign up for jobs big and small. Most of the jobs only take a few minutes, like carrying tables outside, or washing a few pots after lunch. Many of the jobs are done at home, like chopping vegetables and delivering them before you head into Sunday School.

This system of prepping at home and cooking at church was born out of necessity, as the ovens are unreliable, and we must use recipes that can be cooked on the stove top. I believe a happy result is that we have tried new recipes that use less cooking and fresher ingredients, like the pasta primavera this week. Another happy result of the pandemic is that we eat outside sometimes, which has been so nice when the weather cooperates. The biggest challenge we face is recruiting new folks to help. We have the usual suspects in the kitchen for each lunch (you know who you are and thank you!) and all of them would love to attend Sunday School more often. Also, I bet you didn’t know that the same core individuals and families are doing the shopping for almost every meal.

How can you help? On an individual or family level, watch each week for the Sign-up Genius that is on the Fairmont website and comes out in the weekly emails. Sign up once a month to bring ingredients or help for a little while. Every few months, sign up to help in the kitchen for an hour or two. You don’t have to stay the whole time! It really would mean a lot, even if it feels like a small gesture. Even better, organize a group of friends, pick a cause that you want to support, and supply the labor and ingredients for that week! You do not need to know how to cook! You can pick the recipe, or I can help find one, and I’ll scale it for 60 and set up the SignUp Genius. People pay to do this at the little cooking classes. You can come for free! I’ll help that Sunday morning. Of course, if you’re no stranger to the kitchen (thank you, Wesley Foundation!), then it’s all yours!
We would love to be able to get back to weekly lunches, like before the pandemic, but we absolutely need your help. We usually take the summers off, but we will have one lunch in June and one in July this year. The dates are TBA. If you’re interested in helping this summer or in the fall, please reach out any time!