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More than a meal

A story from the 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study (p. 204)

July 16, 2014

Chili Saturday at Grace Presbyterian Church.

Chili Saturday at Grace Presbyterian Church. —Audrey Toombs

DYERSBURG, Tenn.

We might be a small church, but we can do something!” said Audrey Toombs of Grace Presbyterian Church here.

Looking for a way to minister to the community, the congregation took a compilation of ideas from the presbytery and started More Than a Meal (MTaM). Now, people from Dyersburg receive a hot meal, some good conversation, and prayer, along with help applying for food stamps, processing a job application, or obtaining state photo IDs, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, or other important documents.

Local missions are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so Grace provides hearty meals and traditional feasts at holiday times. More Than a Meal has grown to six meals a year, with a goal of serving every month.

The whole congregation gets involved in serving this multicultural group of 75–100 people, but the young adults especially take ownership. Serving, cooking, handing out toiletry kits, delivering meals to people with no transportation, and entering into meaningful conversation immerses young people in the gritty details of basic ministry.

By being intimately involved with their guests, they not only care for others but become more thankful for the simple blessings in their own lives.

“The program is a great success! We have assisted more people than we ever imagined,” says Toombs. “One of the larger Dyersburg churches saw in the paper that we started MTaM, and now they’re serving, too. We hope that other churches will join in so that people will have food every weekend. This ministry is making a difference for our church members and for the community.”

The Presbytery of the Mid-South serves 44 congregations and 5,703 church members.

For more stories like this, order your 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study today. Order through the Church Store or call 800-524-2612.

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