South Charlotte

Volunteers serve a meal, touch a life

Forest Hill Life Group serves the men at Hoskins Park Ministries Aug. 25.
Forest Hill Life Group serves the men at Hoskins Park Ministries Aug. 25.

Is your church group, life group, club or other organization looking for a project? If so, Hoskins Park Ministries (HPM) is looking for your help. Just pick a day when your group can serve a meal and deliver a Christian message to the men who live in 13 homes in the Hoskins Park neighborhood off Beatties Ford Road in northwest Charlotte.

Volunteers participating in the “Serve a Meal and Touch a Life” program are asked to prepare or cater a meal and host a prayer meeting for more than 50 men who previously were living on the streets.

Through the help of HPM, they are working to change their lives. They have jobs and responsibilities and live at Hoskins Park, in a family-like environment.

“Serving dinner and hosting a prayer meeting is a simple but meaningful way to make a difference for these men,” said Craig Dunn, 48, HPM Board of Directors chairman who facilitates the Serve a Meal program.

Dunn, a Candlewyck resident in south Charlotte, said he learned about HPM through his church, Forest Hill. Dunn, managing partner with Carolina Office Solutions–Office Furniture, donated furniture, started volunteering and was invited to join the board at HPM through co-founder Tom Wheeler.

Serving dinner and hosting a prayer meeting is a simple but meaningful way to make a difference for these men.

Craig Dunn, Hoskins Park Ministries Board of Directors chairman

Most volunteer groups choose one night a month to help out at HPM. Hamburgers, hotdogs, barbecue and chicken are great main-course options for groups serving dinner, and water is the preferred drink. Dinner is served around 7:15 p.m., allowing time for all the men to get back home from work.

Some groups prepare the meal and bring it to the ministry ready to be served or warm it up in the ministry’s kitchen. Other groups simply donate money, pick a night to serve and host the program. In those situations, the meal is prepared by the ministry and usually costs the volunteer group $130 to $150, depending on what is provided.

All groups have the opportunity to actually serve the meal to the men. The groups then serve themselves and everyone enjoys the meal together.

“The neighborhood kids have caught on that we typically bring in more food than the men can finish, so we have about 5-8 (kids) now, which certainly brings levity, smiles and joy to the experience,” Dunn said.

Prayer meetings occur after the meal. Some groups prefer for a ministry staff member or a volunteer outside their group to speak, while others choose to lead the meeting and devotional themselves.

“We sing, then read Scripture that goes along with the group member’s message,” Dunn said. “Several men each evening either come early, or stay late and are engaged in fellowship beyond the prayer meeting.”

Serve a Meal and Touch a Life falls right in line with the HPM vision, “leading people to experience God’s love.” According to Pastor Johnny Allen, executive director of HPM, that’s what it’s all about.

June Noe is a freelance writer: jknoe@carolina.rr.com.

Want to help?

If your church group, life group, club or organization would like to help Hoskins Park Ministries with the “Serve a Meal and Touch a Life” program, send an email to margaret33@yahoo.com.

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