BELLAIRE - The Living Bread Kitchen, located in the basement of The United Methodist Church on Guernsey Street, will celebrate it's 20th year anniversary. Through this program, hundreds of locals are given a hot meal every month.
"We thought it would only last about six months," said Lillian Hepburn, the co-founder and now director of The Living Bread Kitchen. "Six months has turned into 20 years."
In the last week of every month, volunteers come together and prepare meals for those who can not afford a hot meal for themselves or their family. The Living Bread Kitchen was started when Hepburn, a member of the church, approached the minister about needing some type of food program in the church and community to aid those in need. At this time, another member had approached the minister about with the same concern. Now the program has fed upwards to about 700 clients in a five day span.
T-L Photo/ KAYLA?VAN?DYNE
Pictured are the volunteers of The Living Bread Kitchen that serves hot meals to those in need. From left is Lillian Hepburn, Carol Beveridge, Marge Scott, Joan Johnson, Nancy Hughes, Carol William, Donna Bruce, Gloria LeMasters, Bernice Wade and Violet Gossett. Back is Jeff Gullickson, Ron LeMasters, Ernie Scott and Tom Myers.
"When we started, we fed 60-75 (clients) that first week and it just keeps building and building. Now we feed about 400-500 every month," said Hepburn.
The program that provides a meal containing an entree, a potato, salad, bread and a dessert. The program receives help from the Mid Ohio Food Bank, as well as from The Salvation Army and different churches, banks and businesses in the area.
Volunteers are not only from The United Methodist Church but in surrounding towns like Bridgeport, Martins Ferry and Moundsville. Many of the women that volunteer come from the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP).
"We don't really have hardships, except we get tired," said Hepburn.
Hepburn said that there is a need for male volunteers, as well, to help with heavy lifting of pans from the oven and minor repairs.
While many of the clients, if not all, come for more then just the food, they come for the fellowship that occurs among many of those who frequent the The Living Bread dining area.
The meals are open to everyone and anyone, no one is turned away, though there is a sign in sheet to see how many they are feeding in a day and week, but to learn the names of the clients and give them an identity.
On Oct. 26, The Living Bread Kitchen will have a celebration to recognize the volunteers and remember those who have passed. A meal will follow at noon.
"It's a blessing, they're a blessing to us," said Carol Beveridge, the co-director of The Living Bread Kitchen. "They really look forward to it."
Van Dyne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org