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Ministry Highlight: Motel Ministry

Highlight given by Janette Kline during Worship on October 10, 2021

Motel Ministry is an outreach ministry, connected with our Social Ministry and Missions Committee. We partner with From His Hands Ministries as we serve individuals and families living in area motels.

The Motel Ministry at our Saviour's church is one of the ways we use our time, talents and funds to reach out to homeless members of the Williamsburg community who reside in two area motels. We're not alone in this endeavor to provide Friday evening meals for these families and individuals. We're part of a local volunteer organization called From His Hands of Christian churches that provide meals every Friday evening. So our church kitchen and our people are a needed part of this service.

I've been involved in this service for more than five years. There have been times when we provided 73 meals on a Friday. More recently, the numbers were between 50 and 35. During the first year of the pandemic, Meals on Wheels and area restaurants help provide meals as needed. Most recently, the numbers of meals delivered have significantly decreased. In September, we delivered 28 meals between Howard Johnsons and Motels Zuma. And I fear that this low number does not reflect people finding real homes for themselves, but that they can no longer afford the motel rates.

Our volunteers gather in the church kitchen on a Friday afternoon and get busy. cracking open the window and turning on the gas and lighting the big stove is one of the first chores. One volunteer may be in charge of washing lettuce peeling parrots, slicing tomatoes and preparing a big bowl of salad. Another may be filling a large pot of water to boil for pasta. We time the roasting of meat or casseroles so that they can be ready before apportioning the meals and the clam shells. There always is a lull while cooking when we can relax and chat and this is a time of fellowship for our volunteers.

Our volunteers over the years have been Jeannie Besterfeldt, Barbara Broady, Diane Priestley. Ellen Picard, Barbara Shaal, Carol Turner, Terry and Bob Zimmerman and Dick Kline. If you peek in the kitchen you will see us wearing white hair nets which are totally flattering and usually plastic gloves. We are serious about hand washing and wearing masks.

Our funding comes from part of the Brafford fund, Thrivent Action Team cards, and donations from you, the congregation. Mount Vernon Methodist Church stocks a non perishable food closet that we can draw from for the leave behind bags. And From His Hands purchases foods at the Virginia Food Bank that we can also request.

And what do the meals consists of? Baked ham, chicken, hamburger casseroles, roast pork for the meat dish. Salads, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, scallop potatoes, and for dessert, usually home baked cookies. But sometimes a recipe from the Sunday Newspaper like September's peach melba buckle. Not a slice was leftover for the cooks to sample, but it looked really good! The fresh peaches and raspberries were wonderful.

Now what is the leave behind a bag? That name was given to the brown paper grocery bags containing non perishable items that would be good for over the weekend. Often the Chef Boyardee products, packages of cheese or peanut butter crackers, soups, small boxes of cereal, packets of instant oatmeal, cocoa and even microwave popcorn, fresh apples and granola or breakfast bars.

Now would you like to join this endeavor? The dates of our meal deliveries are always in the newsletter and bulletins. You may come to the church kitchen at 2pm that day, or drop off at the church that week. Any non perishable if you care to donate, I sometimes request certain items for a particular date. And thank you to all the people who have donated. And I am going to name Neal and Jennie because they gave a very generous donation on September. Now many of us have T shirts that have the slogan, God's work our hands. Motel ministry is certainly that.

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