ORANGEBURG — Several Orangeburg churches offer hot meals at their weekly soup kitchens, making the words of the Bible come alive.
A recent visit to the Church of the Redeemer found Kenny, a volunteer, who said all those at the soup kitchen there are like family to him.
A quiet man, Kenny said helping out at the soup kitchen “gives him something productive to do.”
For 15 years, Kenny was a regular at the soup kitchen, but since becoming employed, he pays it forward by doing small maintenance and janitorial work without being asked.
“I am a believer of Christ,” he said. “As He has blessed and loved me, I have to return the love to others.”
Kenny believes that no matter who you are and what you have, “you always have something to give.”
At 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday, the church’s doors open and between 60 to 150 people receive “earthly food and heavenly food,” said the Rev. Dr. Frank Larisey, the former rector who recently moved to the Atlanta area.
Weekly, Larisey has ministered a message of hope to the crowd, telling them “you are essential to God’s plan.”
“God loves you, He has a plan to bless you, heal you and make you whole,” he said. “When people use us, it’s never good; but God wants to use you for His glory.”
Like Kenny, volunteer Beth Richardson said that not all of the “patrons” are looking for a handout; they want to be used by God.
“Some come and wrap the utensils, sweep the floors or do whatever needs to be done,” she said. “We get to know and build relationships with many of them.”
Richardson, a lifelong member of the church, has not let her recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis prevent her from volunteering and serving as the soup kitchen’s co-chair when she can.
At times, Richardson said she is not able to stand nor do much of anything expect provide direction and plan the menu.
“Whoever comes through the door, we will serve them,” she said. “Aline Rhosoto, my co-chair, and I see to it that we help fulfill the mission of Christ.”
AP Photo/The Times and Democrat, Larry Hardy The Rev. Gregory Young of Mount Pisgah Baptist Church leads church volunteers and community members in prayer at the open of their weekly soup kitchen on Nov. 11 in Orangeburg.×