HANNIBAL | Beginning Monday, July 13, the Loaves and Fishes free meals through Hannibal's Harvest Outreach Ministries program may be picked up at a new location.
Amy Vaughn of Harvest Outreach said the “grab and go” meals will be offered from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the former Helping Hand Baptist Church building at 1020 Lyon St.
“The Loaves and Fishes program is making a transition to return to a new normal,” Vaughn said, with meals once again served in the evening.
Earlier in 2020 the pandemic required changes in the program, and thanks to increased financial support from multiple donors and organizations, Harvest Outreach purchased sack lunches, to be made and distributed at the Hannibal Nutrition Center.
“The program has had no interruptions of services, but transitioned smoothly into this revised format,” Vaughn said.
Although the Loaves and Fishes free meals were received in curbside delivery at the nutrition center at noon, they were sack lunches, not the Nutrition Center's meals.
Vaughn said there are no restrictions on who can receive the sack lunches. “They are for anyone and everyone,” who needs a meal.
“We ask that people don't abuse the system, but we want to make sure that if someone is hungry, they have food,” she said.
The free meals have been served for more than 20 years, earlier at First United Methodist Church as Loaves and Fishes. In 2015 the program became part of Harvest Outreach Ministries, which is led by the Rev. Larry Hinds.
Vaughn said reservations are not required for the sack lunches but “it would help for planning purposes if they would let us know when they first start attending. If people are interested in signing up for meals the first time,” they may call her at 573-693-7365, Ext. 702.
Beginning Monday, volunteer groups will be providing and preparing the food, but it will be distributed curbside in sacks or containers to ensure that continued COVID-19 safety precautions can be taken. Also, the number of those gathering in one place will be limited.
Individuals who want a meal are asked to either drive up or walk up to the door on the 11th Street side of the building, where a meal will be delivered.
“Loitering at the location is not going to be allowed for the safety and well-being of all,” Vaughn said.
Loaves and Fishes is always looking for volunteer and financial help.
“If you have a group that would like to volunteer one night a month to prepare and distribute a meal, please contact me at 573-693-7365 and choose the Loaves and Fishes menu option,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn also hopes to get help from a local food service provider.
“I'd love to have one restaurant a month that would provide a meal. If we got 12 restaurants that would each provide one meal a year, it would be special.”
Financial donations may be mailed to Harvest Outreach, 1732 Hope St., Hannibal, MO 63401 with a notation in the memo for Loaves and Fishes.
Harvest Outreach is a 501(c)3 faith-based organization specifically dealing with addiction and hunger problems in this area. More information or online donation links may be found online at www.harvestoutreach.faith.