It was hard to find anyone who wasn't loving tacos during a recent Tuesday visit to the Saugerties unit of the Boys and Girls Club. More than 40 kids were digging into the south-of-the-border favorite provided by members of the Saugerties United Methodist Church.
This was the second week that church members who have made it their mission to feed the kids provided hot food for the youngsters. The previous week it was chili, also met with smiles of approval from the kids.
AnnChris Warren, director of the Saugerties Boys and Girls Club, said church members had recently contacted her about feeding the kids a hot meal at least once a week. Many of the kids get to the club right after school, play games, work on a computer, and get homework help from mentoring high-school students and community members.
Some remain there until 8 p.m.
"Most of these kids, come from one-parent families, or two-parent families where both parents work, and don't get picked up until 8 p.m." Warren explained. After that they might grab a quick meal at a fast-food restaurant or have a sandwich at home.
"For many of these kids, this might be the only hot meal they get all week," Warren added.
The volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club try to provide snacks for the kids, "but some days it's not much," Warren said.
Jesse Debbarman, a seventh grader who goes to the club daily, called the church hospitality "awesome."
"They (the church) bring enough food for everyone," Warren said. "Not everyone here gets a hot meal."
Warren said the church brings so much food that club volunteers are able to provide it to the kids for more than just Tuesday.
Evelyn Stokrocki and Cathy Graves were unloading the taco fixings last Tuesday. Church pastor Tony Mecca had come to the congregation talking about how many of the kids at the club were there for four or five hours without anything to eat. "And he suggested we could help the kids," Stokrocki said.
It was amazing how many members of the church stepped up to help, whether it was donating food, donating money for buy the food and helping prepare it, Stokrocki added.
Graves said the Methodists were going to the other local churches that were members of the Saugerties Area Council of Churches. With greater participation, "maybe we can get hot meals to all the kids."
Stokrocki and Graves said that church member Al McDowell was a tremendous help in picking up the food and delivering it.
"This is just so awesome what the church is doing for the kids," Warren said gratefully.
Robert Ford, Hudsonvalleyone website
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Through the Four Areas of Focus churches are engaging in ministry with the poor which encourages them to be in ministry with their communities in ways that are transformative. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the World Service Fund apportionment at 100 percent.