A local food ministry will welcome a nationally known radio personality in an Easter fundraiser.
Suellen Daniels, founder of Meals by Grace at Grace Chapel Church of Christ, said the event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. April 8 at the church.
“This is the solution to everybody’s Easter dinner dishes,” she joked. “Just leave the dishes sitting and come out to Grace Chapel.”
Daniels said Marquis Laughlin is known for memorizing and theatrically reciting entire books of the Bible.
He will present the Gospel of John during the local performance.
“He’s really, really awesome,” she said. “He’ll do all the different voices and you’ll think there are 20 people on stage, but it’s just him.”
Daniels said Laughlin approached the church about doing a fundraiser for Meals by Grace.
“He heard about our program and said it sounded like something near and dear to his heart,” she said.
The program began in January 2011, when Daniels wanted to do something to help hungry children in the county.
Today, about 25 volunteers come to Grace Chapel’s kitchen each Sunday afternoon to cook a full meal for families in need.
“We started off with one family and the second week we had three families and now we’re at 18 families,” said Daniels, noting that the families are referred to the ministry by Forsyth County school system social workers. “We feed about 130 people every week.”
The Sunday dinners are delivered to the families after they are prepared.
Daniels said she would like to be able to prepare more meals, but is limited by space constraints in the church kitchen.
The volunteers also collect donations of food items that are delivered with the Sunday dinner.
“We like to give each family enough food to make an additional two to four meals during the week,” Daniels said.
“The families are always ecstatic,” she said. “It’s always just pure joy from them. The children always come out and want to help carry the stuff into their house.”
Daniels hopes to someday be able to expand the program.
“Statistics in 2010 for Forsyth County said there were 7,516 middle school children who qualify for free or reduced cost meals,” she said. “You add one sibling and one parent for each of those children and you see that we do have a real need of hungry people in our county.
“We guess that the numbers now are probably more like 65,000 to 75,000 people in need of food in our county.”
The upcoming fundraiser is free to attend, but donations will be collected for the program. There will also be cookbooks and taped performances of Laughlin for sale. Child care will be available for a small fee.
“It’s so important for our fundraiser to do well,” she said. “It’ll be a nice, enjoyable afternoon so we hope a lot of people will come out.”