‘Emmanuel Soul Food Kitchen’ a Community Meal, Starts Oct. 10, 2013

Father Chuck and Charlie McMullen in the kitchen of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Starting Oct. 10, on the second Thursday of each month, at 5:30 p.m., Charlie will be heading up a soup kitchen meal called the Emmanuel Soul Food Kitchen. (Photo by Jeanie Petersen)

Father Chuck and Charlie McMullen in the kitchen of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Starting Oct. 10, on the second Thursday of each month, at 5:30 p.m., Charlie will be heading up a soup kitchen meal called the Emmanuel Soul Food Kitchen.
(Photo by Jeanie Petersen)

Charlie McMullen has had great success running St. Paul’s “Taste N See” soup kitchen at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oxford for years. Now he’s extending his outreach to the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Norwich to help another segment of Chenango County. He and the Very Rev. Charles G. Taylor aka “Father Chuck” are calling it the “Emmanuel Soul Food Kitchen,” but it’s not “Soul Food” cuisine, its good food to satisfy both the stomach and the soul!

Father Chuck has been troubled trying to help more and more people with food issues. With a less than healthy economy, and shortage of financial aid, a situation known as “food insecurity” has developed. Ten percent of Americans struggle to put food on the table, and that includes 1 in 5 children that live in those homes. The average for the state’s unemployment rate was 7.5% (as of July 2013), and some of those unemployed even have a college education. When jobs are available, they’re not paying enough to live on. Two million rural families don’t have a dependable supply of food weekly. For children, hunger prevents them from reaching their full potential. School lunches are good, but not enough. Students being hungry create a lack of concentration in the classroom, irritability, and behavior developmental issues. This can lead to learning problems and the possibility of a pattern of poverty in the future.

The Church does have an “Our Daily Bread” food pantry. They spend $70,000 a year to feed the community three days a week, but it’s not enough. The dinner, as another form of outreach, was Charlie’s idea. It’s his passion to feed people and McMullen makes hearty, nutritionally balanced, delicious fare that will be served for free. Starting October 10, the Emmanuel Soul Food Kitchen (ESFK) will be serving a meal on the second Thursday of the month, only one seating, at 5:30 p.m. Come early to secure a seat in this warm and secure environment. The unemployed or retired, young men/women unable to find jobs, or anyone in need of a hot meal; or those who wish to enjoy the sense of camaraderie, is welcome. This is not just for those challenged to put food on the table but for anyone wanting to join others socially. Charlie said, “We take great pride in people with smiling faces!” That kind of compassion will surely feed many hungry souls.

The Emmanuel Episcopal Outreach Committee is chaired by Jim Everard. They have a variety of programs to assist people in need such as gas vouchers for medical appointments, assistance with water/electric/heating bills (not rent), providing handicap equipment, and with prescription/medical necessities. They also support the Our Daily Bread food pantry, provide space for Scouts/organization’s meetings, provide a Thanksgiving meal, and 100 Thanksgiving food baskets.

The Emmanuel Church is located at 37 West Main Street (at the corner of Elm and West Main) in Norwich. Servers can join by calling 334-8801; or call for information.

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