“But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God
belongs.’ ” (Luke 18:16, NRSV)
Much is made about Sedalia being a caring community. I would agree. The examples of how this reputation has come to be are numerous. The assistance offered to other communities following natural disasters, the care given to families after the devastating fire and the support provided to folks following the loss of loved ones are just three examples from a list that is long.
One other example of how Sedalia cares can always be seen during the summer months. There are a tremendous number of organizations that provide free lunch to children. One of those places is Immanuel United Church of Christ (UCC). That free lunch ministry is offered Mondays through Fridays from the day after school gets out until the day before school begins between the hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. While the free lunch is offered primarily for children through the age of eighteen, everyone is welcome to attend.
This ministry started in the summer of 2006. On that first day, just three children showed up. Now, thousands of free meals have been served to hundreds of people during the past seven years. A typical meal consists of a main dish like spaghetti, tacos, chicken strips, fish sticks, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, hot dog, or a lunch meat sandwich. A fruit and vegetable are served along with bread and milk. Sometimes, there might even be dessert. Every meal is served with a prayer. On Fridays, a food pack is sent home with every child ensuring there is extra food over the weekend. Additional sack lunches are served at Taylor Chapel AME and Living Waters Assembly of God on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Feeding children is at the center of the ministry. However, there is also activity time offered every day. Activities include Lego toys, puzzles, coloring, board games, card games, jump rope and this year’s favorite activity of “silent ball.” While some children eat and leave, others stay and play. There is something for everyone. It is easily summed up as “Lunch, Laugh, Love and the Lord.” The best part is it’s all free!
Need comes in many shapes and forms. This ministry happens in a supervised, air-conditioned place where children can relax on a hot summer day. This is a place where new friends are made, where positive interaction between children and adults happens, and where it is reinforced every day that the children of this community are loved. This is truly an example of how Sedalia cares.
It is important to note that while the Food 4 Kids ministry is supported by the congregation at Immanuel UCC, it would not be possible for the ministry to exist were it not for the volunteers and support received communitywide. From those who help serve, to those who interact with the children during activity time, to those who, donate money and food, and those who offer prayers, every effort made on behalf of this ministry is truly appreciated. Food 4 Kids is located at 418 W. 4th St. The phone number is 826-3553 or check out iuccsedalia.com for more information.
It is also worth noting that in addition to this free lunch program, a free evening meal is also offered Mondays through Fridays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Community Café, which is located at 417 W. Pettis St. Volunteers from area community groups and students from the Smith-Cotton High School work hard to see that everyone who shows up has something to eat each week night. Community Café is open to all. It is a community effort. Check out
blogspot.com for more information.
As stated earlier, there are numerous organizations involved in making free meals available. Food 4 Kids and Community Café are just two examples. The main point is, as a community, Sedalia cares and together, the Sedalia community puts that care into action.