Angel Plate Ministry feeds bodies and souls
by The Press and Standard | May 5, 2018 12:00 pm
Last Updated: May 4, 2018 at 11:37 am
The meal delivery program, based out of Cottageville United Methodist Church, “is not only feeding our community with homemade, healthy food, it’s feeding our community with love, hope [and] fellowship by God’s grace,” founder Gena Reeves said.
The nonprofit ministry is not Meals on Wheels, but Reeves has consulted with Charleston Meals on Wheels officials, registered dietitians, social workers and other church leaders for advice on launching the program.
Angel Plate was started after Reeves and her husband, Ronnie, prayed about how to feed the community with food and fellowship. They took the idea of cooking and delivering meals to CUMC Pastor Leo Roy, “who jumped at it,” Reeves said.
Meal recipients don’t have to be low-income: Anyone is eligible, no questions asked. Meals are delivered to shut-ins, veterans, the sick, widows/widowers, the elderly, those recovering from surgery or childbirth, caregivers, families or anyone who is lonely or needs encouragement. To be placed on the delivery list, call Reeves at 843-599-8585, the church at 843-835-2611, or Benita Free at 843-908-1219.
“It’s not about charity or because you’re too poor to buy food,” Reeves said. “We’re just saying, ‘Here, take a night off from cooking.’ It’s about fellowship and reaching out to our community, letting them know that we are here and that we love them.”
Last week the ministry served 57 meals. “When we take a meal to anyone’s house, everyone there receives a meal also,” Reeves explained. “And we always carry extras, in case someone has company or the kids have a friend over.”
The meals are free– they cost about $2.75 per person to produce–and there are no geographical limits to delivery. Angel Plate Ministry is currently “self-funded,” Reeves said, “but we are trusting God to provide for us each week.”
Reeves came up with the idea of placing a bookmark with a Bible verse in every meal bag, “to serve as a little encouragement when maybe the person feels like there isn’t any.”
The Reeveses, Pastor Roy, Benita Free and her husband Richard cook the meals in the church’s dining hall each Tuesday afternoon, then package and deliver between 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
No meals are left on porches or outside homes. “We’re committed to serving nutritious, healthy food of the highest quality. It is handled with extreme care and safety. And each person receives a safety checklist, plus handling and heating instructions,” Reeves said.
Meals—they include protein, starch, vegetable, dessert and water–are delivered in portioned trays that are microwaveable and freezer/dishwasher-safe, so recipients can keep them for personal use.
Typical meals might be pork loin, wild rice, green beans, macaroni and cheese, dinner roll, brownie and bottled water, or meat loaf, mashed potatoes, lima beans, bread, strawberry cake and water.
“It’s so much more than just handing someone a plate of food. It’s showing people there is someone who cares, and that they are not alone. This is all about sharing God’s love, letting people know that not only are we here and we love them, but that God is also here and He loves them,” she said.
Reeves is working to set up a nonprofit account at Enterprise Bank for donations. Until that’s finalized, donors may contribute by sending a check for Angel Plate Ministry to Cottageville UMC, 44 Peirce Road, Cottageville, S.C. 29485. Or, call the Reeveses, the Frees or the church for pickup of any donations, from food and water to funds.
By JULIE SMITH | firstname.lastname@example.org