Big Give kicks off June 1 with first of many free meals in Kalamazoo
KALAMAZOO, MI — With a goal of serving 10,000 free dinners over the course of the summer, God’s Kitchen of Michigan and Broncos Kitchen are set to kick off the “Big Give” with a free meal June 1 at Milham Park.
The first of more than 40 dinners scheduled to be given out between June 1-Aug. 18, Tuesday’s dinner will feature barbecue chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, a vegetarian dish, dessert and bottled water, according to a news release from God’s Kitchen of Michigan.
Porter, the Kalamazoo Growlers’ mascot, as well as Sugar Bear, will be on hand to greet dinner guests at the kickoff event. Meals are limited to one per person and those interested must be present to receive a meal.
All dinners throughout the summer are scheduled from 4:30-6 p.m. Meals will be handed out Monday-Thursday each week through Aug. 18 and rotate nightly between locations in Kalamazoo, Portage and Oshtemo Township. Meal menus will be posted on the website a few days in advance.
“Since COVID-19, the number of homeless and other indigent souls has escalated and we need to put forth even more effort to address their needs,” said the Rev. William Stein, co-founder and chairman of God’s Kitchen of Michigan. “Other food pantries have seen an increase in need and the number of people living at the homeless encampment is increasing exponentially. I have a heavy heart because of that.”
Stein told MLive that volunteers will be distributing food at the encampment as well as the various locations as they want to provide as many meals as they can.
“The lord mandated that we feed his sheep,” Stein said. “So, as a person of faith we’re obligated to fulfill his edict. … He has blessed us, because this is our 10-year anniversary this year.
“So, we are not only doing things to the glory of God, but we are praising him for all the blessings bestowed upon this particular ministry and our sister ministry, Broncos Kitchen.”
Meal site hosts include the Douglass Community Association, Chapel Hill Church of Portage, 58 West Student Apartments, Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation, Westwood Christian Reformed Church and Wesley Foundation.
To learn about the remaining free dinner dates and locations, please visit www.godskitchenofmichigan.org or Broncos Kitchen at www.broncoskitchen.org. All meals are free and open to the public until food runs out. There are no income or identification requirements to participate.
A special commemorative t-shirt will be sold for $20 each to help defray costs. The two nonprofits have also set up a GoFundMe page to accept safe, secure tax-deductible donations online.
The meals would not be possible without private and philanthropic donations, Stein said.
Major sponsors of the Big Give include: Seelye Auto Group, Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Macy’s, John Fetzer Institute, Meijer, International Campus Ministry at Western Michigan University, Baptism USA Ministries, Delta Sigma Phi (WMU Chapter), Broncos Kitchen, Local Love, The #CaringCarGuy, Sam’s Club and the Joan L. Lafayette Memorial Fund.
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