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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:00 am

Anderson church offering dinners

KELLEY DICKEY | Herald Bulletin, Anderson

ANDERSON – As soon as Louis Jackson Jr. discovered people were living in abandoned homes and woods nearby, he knew it was time to offer more.

“That really was the catalyst to say the time is now,” he said. “We're not trying to do more than we could do, but we're gonna get started.”

United in Christ Church is continuing its mission to help those in need with a new free community dinner at 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month.

It's just the latest in the church's long history of giving to those who live in its neighborhood.

For years, United in Christ has given away free clothes, furniture and home items during its annual summer giveaway, and it hosts an annual Back to School Bash.

Free school supplies, food, pony rides, a petting zoo and vendors with freebies will be at this year's bash at noon Saturday at the church, 538 E. 31st St.

That giving spirit will continue with the monthly meals, said Jackson, senior pastor of the church.

“We're in the community and any way that we can help the community, that's Christ being seen,” he said. “So this is our way of taking Christ and letting him be seen any way we can help because we're part of the neighborhood.”

The church has toyed with offering a free meal for years, but feedback from attendees at the church's giveaways and the congregation highlighted the need.

“One of the things we found out was we heard that the Christian Center is the closest place most of them can get to, but sometimes eating downtown is not as easy,” church administrator and Elder Louis Jackson III said.

Although one meal a month may not seem like much relief, Louis Jackson Jr. said it chips away at food insecurity. He compared it to an old story of a boy walking along the beach after a major storm washes thousands of starfish onto the sand. As he tosses starfish back into the ocean, a naysayer comments that he won't be able to make much of a difference.

But to each individual creature the boy saves, it will mean the world.

“We have to be what we preach,” the senior pastor said. “Our faith is in God and we believe this is his timing.”

Associate Pastor Samuel Jackson said it will be another resource for those in need in Anderson, and not just for food. Clothing leftover from the giveaways will be available at the monthly meals for those who need it. Most of the clothing donated during the summer is for warm weather, so he hopes winter clothes and coat donations will come.

“We're now open to get it all year long because as soon as we get it, we'll give it. So we don't have to wait once a year to meet that need,” he said. “We're going to slowly meet that need every month.”