Volunteers prepare food and drinks at a Bountiful Hearts meal at Harrison Church of the Nazarene. The free meal is served every third Saturday of the month at the church, and is one of three monthly Bountiful Hearts meals in Harrison. Sydney Murray/The Harrison Press
Bountiful Hearts feeds hungry, lonely
For about 15 years, volunteers with Bountiful Hearts have served meals to those in the Harrison Community who are hungry, in search of a home-cooked meal, or just looking for some friendship.
What started out as one meal, once a month, at the Harrison Community Center, has grown into three meals at three different churches.
Cathy Grimm helped begin a fourth Saturday meal about eight months ago at St. John the Baptist Church.
Grimm said she knew the Bountiful Hearts meal program would be a great community project to be a part of.
The meal at her church is organized by different groups, such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or teachers at St. John School.
Eventually, Grimm said they would like to also see families partner together to provide the meal, which also features a food pantry sponsored by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The church also offers carry-out service for people who can’t stay for the meal.
Along with feeding people, this program aims to empower them and help them get back on their feet if they need it, Grimm said.
She said they want to help people find the resources they need and she appreciates seeing everyone work together for the good of the community.
Christine Luca, who helped begin the first Saturday meal at the First Presbyterian Church of Harrison, said some attendees include elderly people, and families with small children.
She has developed relationships with attendees and said her primary goals are to fill bellies and show love, which too many people go without. She also attends the other two meals every month.
She said some of these people have had hard times and they are happy to take care of anyone.
“We try to be a resource for them, as well,” said Luca. The meal at the Presbyterian Church also features personal care items for attendees.
Menu items at the meals vary between hots dogs and Cincinnati chili, to fried chicken and a turkey dinner during the holidays.
“I try to make it a home-cooked, healthy meal,” said Luca.
The Presbyterian Church also offers carry-out service, but Luca said they always encourage people to stay and eat.
“We’re always happy when they do,” said Luca.
On April 20, the menu at the Harrison Church of the Nazarene featured lasagna, Texas toast, salad, corn, and a variety of desserts.
The original Bountiful Hearts meal moved to the Nazarene Church after it could no longer take place at the Community Center.
The Nazarene Church allows meal volunteers to use their space, and volunteers come from many different congregations.
One volunteer at this meal includes Lin Wehmeyer, who was one of four people who helped begin the Bountiful Hearts meal program.
“I’ve always been interested in food ministries,” said Wehmeyer.
The meal at the Nazarene Church is now led by Cathy Jester, who first attended one of the meals with a friend.
Jester began volunteering at the meals, and then took over the one at the Nazarene Church after previous leadership stepped down.
This meal, which takes place on the third Saturday of the month, features a food and clothing pantry, as well as other items that people donate, such as toys and home decor.
The Southbound Express band also performs at this meal every month, and has been doing so since the meal first began.
The Nazarene Church meal, as well as the one at the Presbyterian Church, features delivery service for those who can’t physically make it to the meal.
Jester said, through these meals, they want to show God’s love. Each Bountiful Hearts meal takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We want anybody to feel welcome,” said Grimm.