ANDERSON — Janet is gearing up for her next meal. As she finishes her lunch, she has a second plate of chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, a roll and four packages of mixed fruit to take home.
When volunteers at Trinity Episcopal Church get ready to clean up the kitchen, Janet decides to grab just a little bit more food to take home.
“No one here complains if we take more,” she said. “They’re just really generous.”
For almost two years, Janet, who didn’t want to reveal her last name, has been going to the church’s Midweek Meal, a free lunch offered 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday to anyone who needs it.
It’s something the church has done for almost four years to offer relief to area residents who are struggling.
Patricia Ecker, a volunteer and one of the organizers, said people who receive the meals have various education levels, work histories and backgrounds. But each person has suffered some sort of hardship.
“For us, it’s not we and them,” she said. “By the grace of God, two weeks from now I could be sitting with them, needing a meal.”
Regulars include veteran soldiers, senior citizens, the homeless, the mentally ill, people who have been laid off and people who are working but are still struggling financially.
Throughout the dining hall at 1030 Brown-Delaware St., guests chat and listen to live piano music as they break bread. Regulars chat with volunteers as they grab their food, catching them up on family members or friends who aren’t there.
“Times are hard,” Janet, who is retired, said. “…Talking to everyone (makes it feel like) we’re in it together.
“The rich, the poor, the middle class, we’re a melting pot. We all struggle with high gas prices, high food prices and the cost of health care.”