WEST MILTON — Grandma’s Kitchen, an outreach ministry of Hoffman United Methodist Church, is celebrating its 18th year this year.
Grandma’s Kitchen offers inexpensive dinners to people in the community, makes people aware of the church and provides a structure for volunteers to positively impact the people of the community.
In 2000, Don and Nancy Allen brought forth the idea of building an activity center on to the church to be a place for programs for the congregation and also for outreach to the community. This vision was under way, getting support and pledges, when Nancy Studebaker volunteered to cook a meal every Wednesday to raise money for the new activity center. Studebaker had a lot of help from a relatively small group of volunteers that fixed that first meal for 65 people in May 2001.
In 2003, the meals moved to the new activity center and Studebaker retired as head cook. Don and Nancy Allen then took over coordinating the menu, purchasing, preparation and serving with the help of numerous volunteers until December 2010. Phil Blue later became the coordinator and Wilma Fryman became the head chef. Due to health reasons, they retired in September and December 2014. Jim and Marilyn Mitchell and Val McKay took over and have continued to the present.
In the 18-year history, Grandma’s Kitchen volunteers have served almost 200,000 meals with about half of the meals now carried out or delivered to people who need the service. As many as 360 meals have been served in a single evening. Today the event averages about 220 meals every Wednesday with a diverse menu of favorite dishes as requested by those who attend. It takes about 35 volunteers per week to put together each meal. They help to plan, shop, cook, prepare, package, serve, wash dishes, deliver, clean up, etc; some volunteers do not even attend Hoffman.
Free meals are provided to those in need; those who can afford to, pay a suggested donation of $7 per meal. The left-over food gets taken to the Miami County Family Abuse Shelter and the proceeds are donated to various food-related missions.
On Wednesday, July 31, cake and ice cream as a dessert will be served in celebration of the 18th anniversary.