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Local church offers free lunch to those who have a need

January 24, 2018
By ERIC DEVAUX (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

A local church is giving away free meals to residents looking for some fresh food and friendly company.

Lehigh residents who are looking to share a meal or are in financial need can get a free meal at the Lehigh Acres Church of the Nazarene every Wednesday from 4:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m.

The pastor and the congregation of the church saw a need for a tighter and more giving community after what Hurricane Irma did to Lehigh Acres.

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Lehigh residents who are just looking to share a meal or who are in financial need can get a free meal at the Lehigh Acres Church of the Nazarene every Wednesday from 4:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m.

ERIC DEVAUX

"We felt like a call to do something for the community," the Rev. Mike Shinn said about what his church did during Irma. "We set this up as an outreach center. We wanted to reach the neighborhood and help as much as we could."

The church became a food distribution center servicing around 5,500 residents.

"Churches across the United States were sending trucks and trailers full of food," Shinn said.

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This got the church thinking.

"We found that there was a lot of need for food here in Lehigh," Shinn said. "The church board got together and said 'Hey, let's start trying to do something.'"

So that is when they chose to give out the free meals on Wednesdays.

"We reached out to the homeless," Shinn said. "We reached out to Presbyterian churches and a lot of the other different agencies."

.Now they serve 100 to 150 people.

"They come in nice even spurts," Shinn said.

Kindness goes a long way, which has attracted more people to come.

"Our volunteers are able to talk to them, be friendly to them," Shinn said.

They do get people who are homeless and people just looking for somebody to talk to.

"So many of those folks just come here to talk," Shinn said.

Not only do they feed people on Wednesday, the church also gives out meal packets to individuals that need the extra support.

"If somebody comes by during the week and says 'We're really hungry, we need something" we can go in there and get one of those (meal packets)," Shinn said.

The Lehigh Church of the Nazarene is just another story of how Hurricane Irma made a tighter community.

"(The aftermath of Irma) brought out the best in people," Shinn said.

 
 

 

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