Dinner ministry adapts to meet current needs

Daniel Ingram says he can’t recall the name of the preacher, but he remembers the message.

“A couple of years ago, we had a revival here and the speaker talked about doing something, not just sitting there,” said Ingram, a member of Southside Baptist Church, Greenville.

He couldn’t forget it. And over the months that followed, he started talking to some of the men in his small group, and a vision developed.

It was simple — “How about we feed people?”

‘Show love’

The group of men was already in charge of cooking Wednesday night supper at the church, so they thought — why don’t we just do that for the community? And with that, Shepherd’s Table ministry was born.

It started as a dinner served on the last Monday night of the month to anyone who needed it. Then in March, in partnership with First Baptist Church, Greenville, they provided lunches for local schoolchildren who would miss meals because they weren’t in school.

And then when the COVID-19 crisis hit, they switched gears again — this time to distribute grocery bags to anyone who might need it.

At Southside Baptist, they are praying and talking about increasing their format to dispense food more often to meet the need during the coronavirus outbreak. They don’t have any criteria for who can receive a bag of food, “it’s just given,” Ingram said. “We just wanted to show love for the community.”

The ultimate goal is to build relationships and share the gospel as they meet the community’s physical needs, he said. “We’re just trying to reach people. I feel like through this whole thing, that God is at work.”