On Dec. 4, at Harvest Community Church, we were approached by a member of our Kittanning location, his name was Brad. He offered to cook a large Christmas meal for our local community at the Allegheny North Campus. We did not feel as though this was an opportunity that we could pass up. The only catch was we only had two weeks to organize it and put it together.

So, we got to work right away. We put together the menu and advertised it on local radio stations, our local TV Network bulletin board, the newspaper, and social media groups and platforms. We also had 800 fliers made to be handed out door-to-door in two of our more needy communities, of which we also partnered with local community leaders to have transportation available for those who were unable to drive.

Harvest Community Church served 170-180 community members at the Christmas meal.

Within four days of our initial meeting with the cook, all of the advertising was completed. That Sunday, Dec. 12, we recruited several volunteers to decorate, play live music, help cook and serve the food, drivers, greeters and people who were responsible for just sitting and talking with people. Our initial plan was that once every 30 minutes or so I would give a gospel presentation to all those who were enjoying their meal. For those who would get their meal to go, we had gospel tracts and Christmas Eve invites to go with them.

We began serving food at 12 p.m. on Dec. 18. It started slow, but after about an hour we had nearly 30 people eating in the dining room. Others were getting their food to go. We also delivered  some meals to the elderly residents at the local high-rises, who were unable to make it because of the bad weather.

In all, we served 170-180 meals. Since we had so few people eating at the same time in the dining room, myself and several of the other volunteers began having one-on-one gospel conversations with those who were eating with us, instead of me giving a message from the front. Everyone who received a meal from us that day heard or read about the gospel of Jesus.

After the meal, we had quite a bit of leftovers. With those leftovers we provided dinner for the community center volunteers who serve in the project housing community, and we were able to donate the rest of the food to the Light of Life Rescue Mission in Pittsburgh. The next day, Sunday, we even had a few people call us and ask us to give them rides to church!