The Clarksdale Care Station has provided meals to those in need on a daily basis throughout the week for several years, but Lorraine Cancer recognized there were still times individuals were not being reached.
Cancer and other members of the community did something about that when they decided to feed meals to the less fortunate meals every fourth Saturday at her church, Haven United Methodist Church, on 404 Yazoo Ave.
The monthly meals started Feb. 27, 2010 and a 10th anniversary celebration was held Saturday afternoon.
“We saw a need,” Cancer said. “The Care Station, they do a great job, but they’re not open on the weekends, so we thought we would try to offer this for the people in the community at least once a month. I’d love to do it more than once a month and maybe, eventually, it will happen.
“We have just been blessed to be able to work to serve this community.”
Cancer said as many as 300 individuals have been fed in one day. She admitted she did not expect to be continuing what she started in 2010 all these years later, but now she believes the effort could last another 10 years.
“I feel really great,” Cancer said. “I think about when we first started we only served 17 meals. For us to serve over 300 meals in one day, that says a lot. The average meal now that we serve is from 150 to 200.”
The meals consist of a meat, two vegetables, a dessert and something to drink. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, garlic bread, cake and lemonade was the meal Saturday. Cancer said main courses on other weeks have included chicken, spaghetti and ham.
Clothes and canned goods are also provided for the needy.
Cancer said members of the community, Haven United Methodist Church and other donors have helped make the effort possible. She said Clarksdale United Methodist Church is one of the biggest sponsors of the event, Haven United Methodist Church member John Stalin and Robert Jennings have also been a big help through the years. She also appreciated the support of Haven United Methodist Church pastor Christopher Diggs.
Around 15 volunteers help put together and serve the meals each Saturday. Cancer said Care Station board president Charlie Estess has helped serve food.
“The people have been good about coming in,” Cancer said. “Even some of the ones that come through to get food, they bring donations to the church and make sure that we use it.”
A devotional from the Bible is read before the meals are served.
Cancer thanked all of the volunteers at the anniversary celebration.
“The Lord has always had food for us to eat and we’re grateful that he has given us so much joy to work in this community,” she said.
Cancer said the theme of the celebration was love and Black History since both of those things are celebrated in February. She brought a sign, “Let all you do be done in love.”
She said the red table cloths represented the blood of Jesus and performed a skit where 12 trays were stacked.
“Jesus started with 12 disciples,” Cancer said.
The trays had three sides representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There were holes in the trays representing people being able to breathe and food going on to the next generation. She also celebrated how the effort to help the less fortunate brought people of all races together.
Cancer said some of her goals to for the future include helping the low income pay bills, providing financial advice where people are taught how to budget and having a health and wellness ministry.