Local Woman Generously Provides Free Holiday Meals

By: Allyson Hutchison
The Village Reporter

Jennifer French, member of the First United Methodist Church, began an interesting project that will hopefully continue. On Thanksgiving, she hosted a free meal, at her church, for those with nowhere else to go, and plans on holding another on Christmas.

At the First United Methodist Church, they discuss God sightings and grace, as many churches do. These conversations are what inspired Jennifer to share God’s grace with others. She thought about how she seemed to witness God’s grace when assisting those in need. She also remembered what it felt like being on the receiving end of aid. As a child, her family went through a rough patch where they were barely scraping by due to an aneurysm that burst in her father’s brain. Her father scarcely survived and suffered many disabilities rendering him unable to work. Jennifer’s family lost their main source of income. Many neighbors came to help support the family in their time of need. One woman stuck out particularly in her mind. This woman had a rundown house and was in need herself, and though the other families had brought the French family expensive things or a home cooked, the woman’s contribution of a jar of peanut butter was more than Jennifer and her family could have asked for. Jennifer aspired, from that moment on, to be just like her neighbor and give all that she could.

These dinners were another way that Jennifer saw to give back and share the grace of God. She also took this as an opportunity to show the community that the First United Methodist Church does care about community members. “The goal of our dinners is not to serve them or look down on anyone. When we have hosted our dinners no one serves, everyone sits down to a meal together, we pass the food around the table, and at least for one night we are all a family,” Jennifer explained. Since the Thanksgiving dinner had a modest attendance, Jennifer has been trying to spread the word about the Christmas dinner in an attempt to reach as many people as she can. Even though the Thanksgiving dinner did not have the turn-out Jennifer and other members of the church were hoping for, they were able to give the thirty-eight leftovers to senior citizens, veterans, a few disabled members of the community, those with a financial need, and another local Pastor took some to a family the church was joyous to bless with the food. They were also overjoyed with all the people who did attend.

The Christmas dinner will be on Christmas day starting at 3pm. Jennifer has pulled together a team of people to donate food for the cause as well as members of the church offering time and food. They plan on serving turkey, turkey and noodles, ham, green bean casserole, yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, chicken casserole, a relish tray, a vegetable tray, a cheese ball and crackers, cookies, six different pies, and more. Jennifer is ecstatic with all of those who have given her assistance in the project. She has also been hosting private family dinners as well. “During the month of December we will be signing up anyone interested in joining us for our small family dinners. Starting in January we will then be hosting one or two families at a time to sit down with us for a homemade meal. The leftovers from these meals will be sent home with the families or given to others in need who have contacted us,” Jennifer informed me.

For more information on the dinners or how you can contribute to the cause, Jennifer can be reached at 419-438-5300 or her email, jenniferbydesignstudio@yahoo.com. She encourages you to contact her so the church can know a rough number of who will be there.

Allyson may be reached at

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