SPARTANBURG — Clang! Clang! Clang! Come and get it!
That’s the dinner bell ringing at Jesus, Our Risen Savior Church for a tasty sit-down dinner every Wednesday from 5-6:15 p.m. Alison Efimetz, the new youth minister at the parish, came up with the idea of family meals, and it’s proved to be a hit. Families weary from the stress of the day appreciate the effort to help them relax.
The first week, 94 hungry people came in from the rain for dinner and fellowship. The next week, 115 people responded to the dinner bell.
“We’ve had a phenomenal response,” Efimetz said. “People who want to sit down with their families now can do it. And they’re even inviting friends.”
She said that the meals are also opening up communication within the parish. People are meeting each other, forming friendships, and the parish is becoming one big family around Wednesday’s meals.
The youth group sets the scene with tablecloths, candles and soft music. They also wait on tables. Each week, a different church committee volunteers to cook. Efimetz said the committees are jumping at the chance to put on chefs’ hats and hit the kitchen. The meals are only $2 per person, and children 2 and under eat for free. Mealtime is a bargain for large families, because the most any family will pay is $10.
“It’s a nice meal with plenty of food,” said Christine Hannouche, a mother of three.
Wednesday at Jesus Our Risen Savior is packed with religious education, choir and altar server practices and youth group meetings.
“To have dinner and be able to get to these things is great,” Hannouche said. “We live 20 minutes away, so it is really convenient for us.”
Kathy Peacock, a mother of six children, agreed. One child attends junior high youth group, while two have altar server practice. A couple of others check in for religious education class.
“It’s kind of a crazy night, so it’s nice to have the dinner fixed,” Peacock said. “We’ve been to a couple of them, and everybody is enjoying it.”
The youth group will use the funds to support charities as well as tithe 10 percent to the church, Efimetz said. Since October is Respect Life Month, the youth group will look into helping out one of the organizations that respects life.
“The more money we make, the more money we can give back,” Efimetz said.
In return, on-the-go families get a nice relaxing meal, allowing the tensions of the day to wear away so they can concentrate on each other and build their lives in Christ.