Preparing Community Dinner

Sharon Gillison, left, and Shirley Giesler spearhead the “Soups On” dinner that is served the first Monday of each month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Word of Life Nazarene Church located at 12 Hoffert St., Union. The dinner is a community outreach effort by the church and is free to anyone in the community. Missourian Photo.

The congregation of a Union church is doing what it can to give to area residents who need a hot meal, or who just need a night out.

The Word of Life Nazarene Church offers a monthly dinner as an outreach to members of the community with “no strings attached.”

Sharon Gillison and Shirley Giesler spearhead the “Soup’s On” dinner that is served the first Monday of each month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the church located at 12 Hoffert St., Union.

Each month church members cook dinner and serve the meal to anyone who wants to come.

There is a variety of food served, including one main dish and sides. The dishes that have been served have been spaghetti and salad, casseroles, and sandwiches and soup.

There are between 25-30 served each month, but there is room for many more, Giesler added.

Gillison said it is important that each church member who helps make the food follows the same directions.

“If six people prepare a casserole, it has to be the same recipe,” she said.

The church began serving dinners in January to help those in need.

“During the winter I asked for prayers for the homeless, and that they find a warm place and soup,” said Gillison.

Then Giesler suggested creating a soup kitchen.

“She planted the seed and the Lord just kept watering it,” Gillison said.

She explained the name of the monthly dinner is from something her mother often said.

“I could always remember my mom, with whatever was cooking, when it was ready would say, ‘Soup’s On,’ ” Gillison said.

Each month, there are a variety of residents who come for dinner. There are church members, families and some people who attend for company.

“This is for someone who doesn’t want to eat alone, or a family who wants to get out for a cooked meal,” said Giesler.

Church members serve the meals to guests, and sometimes visit with them at their tables.

The volunteers also send some food home with those who dine there.

The women said that not many people know about the church because of its location within the neighborhood.

“We’re a small church, that is out of the way,” said Gillison. “We don’t have the drive-by traffic.”

“We really don’t have an ideal location and we are trying to get known to the community,” added Gielser.

She further added that those who attend will not be asked for anything but to enjoy the meal.

“We are not trying to make anyone feel guilty, or to get anyone into the church,” Giesler said.