Father's Kitchen fills more than stomach for homeless - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Father's Kitchen fills more than stomach for homeless

April 5, 2003

ALBANY - With the war going on overseas and coverage being streamed live into our homes, it's easy to forget about the needs of those right in our own neighborhood. But, one group of volunteers is making sure the homeless in Albany are fed.

Most of us think of our mom or, perhaps, a grandmother when  we think of a kitchen.  The hot meals they so often prepared are unforgettable. For one Albany group, though, they want you to think of your father. 

"Many people need to know about Jesus and who he is. Of course, this is our Father's kitchen, which meaning out heavenly Father's kitchen.,"  Volunteer Toni Grebel said.

On the first and third Saturday of each month, the doors open at the First Bapist Church of Albany for both spiritual and physical feeding. It is located at the corner of Pine and Jefferson Streets in Downtown Albany, an ideal location to be in the middle of the homeless population, volunteers say.

The mission of Father's Kitchen is simple: to minister to the less fortunate. No one is ever turned away.

"We couldn't just feed them physically," volunteer Pam Nelson said. "You can't feed somebody physically and just let them go to Hell because they don't know they don't have a relstionship with the Lord."

One visitor said the kitchen's outreach has turned her life around. After a "physical and spiritual crisis," the every-other-week outings has made her feel a part of a new family. "My grandbaby's been coming here since he was three to four months old, so he's the baby of the church - Thomas Boggs - and they ask about him every time he comes," Deborah Raymond said. 

Others are just thankful for the food and fellowship. Nelson's husband, Raymond said, "Meeting different people," is what brings him back to the center, which also has morning worship and devotion services. "It's not that we don't have nothing to eat," he said. "It's just like we come here --and they serve good food."

A former FBI Agent also takes part in the service and meals and has high praise for the volunteers who give of their time. "The work the ladies do here for the poor and the desperate is just - couldn't be anything but angelic," Grady Carter said. 

And those volunteers he describes as angelic say that as long as there is need and donations will allow, they will be here to minister through their 'Father's Kitchen.'

The next service will be on April, 19, the Saturday prior to Easter. Organizers say this service always has the largest turnout and is the most fun. To donate your time, Grebel says show up around 10:30 a.m. To make a monetary or material donation, contact the church.

posted at 6:30 by mathew.palmer@walb.com