By Krista M. Madkins

Killeen Daily Herald

First United Methodist Church of Killeen continues its outreach mission of feeding individuals in the Killeen community through its Lunch with Our Neighbors program.

"I cook for one; I cook for 500. I love to cook, and I love the community of Killeen and Copperas Cove," said Michael Goldstein, as he rushed back to the kitchen of the Moss Rose Community Development Center to finish preparing a meal of crossiant sandwiches, Cajun wings, sausage wraps, potato salad and coleslaw he was serving to group of about 25.

Goldstein was the guest cook Thursday for the church's Lunch with Our Neighbors program, an event that features a cooked meal and devotion hour every Thursday for residents of Killeen.

"The program begins with a prayer; then, we have lunch. During this period, we have a devotion period available," said Darrel Charlton, the current program coordinator. During lunch, the devotional period, which includes Scripture reading and discussion, is conducted.

Goldstein said he was inspired to give back to the community after he found out about the church's act of service from church member Sally Wiliams, who mentioned it to him while he was working at a Killeen H-E-B.

The program has come a long way from former Pastor Skip Blancett's picnic-type gathering. Three years ago, Blancett presented his idea to the church body to feed the public in downtown Killeen as a one-crockpot lunch. On the first day, Blancett received 25 crockpots of food from his church.

"We are really receiving more blessings than giving. We get to know the people in the community," said Laurel Blair, one of the original coordinators who still volunteers with the program.

Roosevelt Smith, who is fondly referred to as Pop by Blair and other church members, has been attending the weekly lunches since the program started. He has since become a member of the church.

"I come because I have a lot of friends here, and I'm a part of the church. And they make you feel welcomed," he said.

Other participants come to volunteer serving food and to socialize with fellow neighbors and church members. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Thursday at the Moss Rose Community Development Center, 1103 E. Avenue E.

Contact Krista M. Madkins at or (254) 501-7468.

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