Raymond UMC is small. The town of Raymond is small. There’s nothing dramatic about their Wednesday meals. A simple hot dinner. A round of cards. A few extra groceries to help out the food budget. Friendly smiles. Yet the basement is full of laughter and conversation. Church members talk about the community meals they host as no big deal, but to the guests who come every week it clearly is a big deal.
This small church partners with the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging (NEI3A) to provide low-cost meals for seniors every Wednesday. Members of the Raymond congregation stop at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank early in the morning to pick up groceries for guests to take home, helping reduce their grocery bills. They do it all with warmth and style. Seasonal decorations, greeters at the door, and a retired social worker who shares important information all add to the day.
Guests may arrive as early as 9:30 a.m. for coffee, cards, and conversation. Most stay for lunch and BINGO in the afternoon. The meals come prepared and are kept warm until lunch time in a new oven, paid for in part through a NE District Asking Ministry Grant. This small congregation found its strength in serving seniors in their community.