The Hot Meal Ministry began circa 1992, began with Deacon Gail Winslow, asking the question, “Who needs a meal?”, then worked to get hot store-bought meals to those named. Initially, the collecting of names seemed a bit haphazard in that they came from anyone who knew of someone in need of a holiday meal.
The earliest ministry records show that in 1992, 20 meals had been delivered. Barb Winslow shared with me how a story Jim McCollough had relayed to her and Gail about a shoeless man, Jim met while delivering meals made everyone involved with the ministry realize the need was far greater than they had initially thought it to be. This knowledge fueled their desire to find ways to do more.
Circa 1998, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals were being prepared, packaged and delivered out of the kitchen at Trinity. The combined total of meals for both Thanksgiving and Christmas in 1998 included 105 meals.
At the turn of the century in the year 2000, the ministry was expanded to include Easter meals in addition to the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals already offered. Another change was the addition of meal baskets. Meal basket contents varied slightly from holiday to holiday, depending on which holiday it was, each basket typically contained either a ham or turkey, rolls, a vegetable, stuffing and potatoes, enough of each item for a family to prepare their own basic holiday meal. The year 2000 delivered 487 meals and 61 meal baskets.
2009 saw another change, a decision was made to only offer meal baskets on Thanksgiving and Easter, but not at Christmas this continued until 2011.
2012 there were no baskets delivered, but the prepared meals continued to be produced and delivered for all three holidays. This particular year, church youth made ornaments that were included with the Christmas meal deliveries.
In 2013, records show that the meal baskets were again offered and that 83 baskets went out for Thanksgiving. 2013 also marked a major change in the ministry Trinity began working with First Lutheran and First Presbyterian Churches. Trinity continued to manage the ministry, but with the added benefit of a better suited kitchen provided by First Lutheran and more potential volunteers, were able to deliver 250 meals, each containing ham, green beans, scalloped potatoes, a roll, and cupcake were delivered by 22 volunteer drivers to 250 Meals on Wheels Recipients for Easter dinner.
Christmas 2016, over 50 volunteers prepared, packaged and delivered over 300 meals to Hospice patients, Meals on Wheels Recipients, and Emergency workers who were on duty.
The Hot Meal Ministry has seen growth and changes over the years, but continues to be a source of comfort to those in need and presents many opportunities for personal growth for all who give their time, energy, and resources to make the ministry possible.