“Ten years ago, the first Wednesday of June, we began Ladles of Love,” organizer Diane Singler said about the weekly free meal that has been served to all comers for the past decade at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on the square in downtown Hillsboro.
“Sandra Moody and I led the meal inside the church until the pandemic hit last year,” Singler said of the 10-year milestone the ministry celebrated on Wednesday, June 2. “We were shut down for five months, then we began the drive-through meals.”
To celebrate their ten-year anniversary, volunteers served a special meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetable, a roll and birthday cake. Each guest also took home a zinnia or a gift bag filled with assorted snacks.
“We serve the free home-cooked meal and a product with it. We have 35 church members who volunteer their time and money and even make desserts,” Singler said, adding that Bob Mulch has done most of the cooking for the program.
What started out at a Bible study group, Ladles of Love grew into something beautiful. “We started by passing out bread at IGA, then decided to try a meal, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”
Ladles of Love started out on Thursdays, but since the pandemic re-start has been every Wednesday of the year. “We deliver in the snow and even the pouring rain,” said Singler.
Pastor Stefan Munker added “It’s fascinating that people give their time and donations. They care about the people.”
Volunteers also had a lot of help during the pandemic when they received a grant. “The grant we received kept us going. It helped us out. In fact, during the pandemic, we doubled our numbers.”
Although Ladles of Love has continued their mission since the pandemic, Pastor Munker said it hasn’t been quite the same. “I miss our fellowship time with those we serve. I miss being inside. But, our members always come through and they want to help others.”