The dinner served more than 150 hungry homeless people between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday at MUST’s Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen at its Elizabeth Inn campus, with most getting there early.
“I am a missionary and I work for MUST Ministries,” said Lavon Minns, MUST’s administrative assistant for kitchen operations. “This is my way of being a servant because I work unto God and not unto man. MUST is the vehicle for me to serve in that manner.”
A number of religions were represented among the 50 volunteers, who were part of an international interfaith women’s group. Organizer Parish Hattub, a native of Iran who said she was persecuted there because of her Baha’i faith, said other volunteers were Jewish, Muslim and Christian.
“We basically decided to do a community service project for this place in June,” said Hattub, a Roswell real estate agent. “We liked it so much we decided to come back every couple months. … When we left here the first time, there was a feeling of joy and satisfaction all the women had.”
In addition to serving the homeless, the volunteers presented each of the clients with a gift bag that included a blanket and handmade scarf.
“It really has nothing to do with Christmas,” said teacher Susan Sabani of Marietta. “It’s just a good way to give back. Many of us in the interfaith group don’t celebrate Christmas. It’s just nice to be contributing.”
While MUST feeds the homeless every day, Tuesday’s meal was a bit more special since clients were allowed to have two meats, Minns said. The meal included chicken quarters, glazed ham, ginger glazed carrots, saffron rice and Minns’s special pasta salad.
Dan Rampey, 43, and Michelle Smith, 39, have been staying at the Arrival Inn on Cobb Parkway after battling homelessness. They were appreciative of the food that MUST offers.
“I’m just lucky to have a meal,” Rampey said. “And I’m glad there are people that are willing to give, ’cause MUST does a lot.”
For Smith, MUST is as close as she will get to being home for the holidays.
“It’s a blessing, being homeless and not being with my family, it’s like having a family,” she said. “If it weren’t for them, we probably wouldn’t be having a dinner.”