Three local churches have combined talent, resources and hearts to make it possible for others to have dinner at “The Well.”
According to The Well Coordinator Chuck Burkhart, the weekly Monday night meal has been made possible by the cooperation of Mount Airy Wesleyan, Fancy Gap Baptist and Antioch Baptist and the Boy Scouts of America through the Fancy Gap Baptist Church.
“Every church takes a Monday night,” explained Burkhart. “Youth groups of each church will serve on the fourth Monday of the month and the scouts serve on the fifth Monday.”
Burkhart and Anne Spencer, who attend the Wesleyan Church, began at Bible study class talking about expressing Christian loving kindness through providing a free meal one night a week.
“We were talking about how to serve the Lord,” continued Burkhart. “We decided we needed to meet a basic need.” He said that Spencer had about eight years experience cooking for large crowds and both of his grandmothers cooked for churches. From there, discussions branched out to a Bible study group at Fancy Gap Baptist.
Lori Berrier told Burkhart the Lord had put it on her heart to help organize a soup kitchen and says the name The Well was a “God driven” idea.
“Not only do we want to fill their stomachs, we also want to fill their hearts by showing them God’s love,” said Berrier. “We want them to be fed physically and spiritually.”
She explained that the story of the Samaritan woman from the Bible helped inspire her. In this story, the Samaritan woman went to the well for water, not realizing she had a spiritual thirst until Jesus spoke with her.
“Not only was she introduced to ’The Living Water’ that day, she met the Savior of the World face to face,” added Berrier. “The world will try but it can never fill so leave it all behind and come to The Well. It’s all about love — God’s love.”
“We called at least 25 churches in the area to see what they were doing,” added Burkhart. “It was at this time that the group was joined by Mary Lou Grant of Antioch Baptist who also felt driven to help with the project.
“It made sense to spread this out,” said Burkhart. All three churches combined their efforts and Burkhart said the response has been good although this week is just the second meal served. “We know others want to volunteer to help and we want to see this move to more than one night if we have the resources.”
Burkhart said that the Mount Airy First Baptist Church’s Martha Morgan volunteered technical advice and her recipes for them when they asked about that church’s popular program that has been ongoing for eight years.
“It’s been a cooperative effort with them as well,” said Burkhart. He said that they knew there were people in need in Mount Airy because of the loss of jobs from the departure of the furniture and textile industries in town. He said the group is considering cooking meals at the Wesleyan Church and transporting them to Fancy Gap to get help into the northern district of the town.
“It would be awesome to end up being able to serve a meal every night of the week,” said Burkhart. “Lots of churches want to but don’t have the people or facilities. They have it on their heart but no way to have it done. Working together is one way we can do this.”
Berrier said that meals at The Well are provided at no charge and with no questions asked. She also said that spiritual “food” also is provided with songs, prayer and worship at the dinners.
“We are well on our way to having one night covered for the rest of the year from those who have donated,” said Burkhart. “Finding volunteers has not been a problem. All we have to do is cover the food cost. Having other churches come in with us is God’s will.”
The volunteers have learned that giving is as much for the ones serving as those served.
“It has been very satisfying to be able to do this,” said Spencer. “We have received only good comments. It is very fulfilling”
Interested persons can obtain more information about The Well by calling Burkhart at 755-0203.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.