Batesville man wins Gr8 Acts of Kindness by creating “God’s Kitchen Crew”
BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - Most churches draw their biggest crowds on Sunday morning.
But, a church in Batesville was pretty busy a day earlier.
It’s all thanks to a man whose vision launched a program filling needs and winning hearts to God—one delicious bite at a time at First United Methodist Church in Batesville.
“It’s a blessing,” Jim Ramsey, a member of “God’s Kitchen Crew,” said. “It’s a real true blessing.”
One of the oldest churches in the area is bustling with new energy.
“How many eggs are you fixing today?”
“We did 81 take-out meals this Saturday,” Michael Wilson said.
“We have two sheets of biscuits to cook,” Ramsey said. “That’s 120 biscuits.”
Every Saturday morning, these men and women rise before dawn.
“The ones who prepare the food are here before 5:45 a.m. and 6 o’clock,” Joyce Prickett, a member of “God’s Kitchen Crew,” said.
“Most of these people are from our Sunday School class,” Jeannie Wagoner, another member of “God’s Kitchen Crew,” said.
“Like Diane and I, we start out and do the fruit,” Prickett explained.
And they have been doing so for nearly nine years straight--even during COVID and holidays like Christmas.
“We have a lot of generous people in this congregation who donate a lot of money to us,” Ramsey said.
To ensure that hungry people, some living off the streets, get fed a hot meal.
“Oh, by the way, Jeannie and Joel have donated every egg that has been cooked here,” Wilson explained.
Wilson is in charge of making gravy, but this group of men and women give him credit for far more.
Wilson first approached the church with the idea of a free community breakfast.
“I told them I’m going to start a breakfast next Saturday,” Wilson said. “Anyone that wants to help can come and if the church doesn’t want to pay for it, I’ll pay for it.”
Faithful volunteers joined in.
“And so he asked my husband, Bill, and I if we would like to be a part of the group and I said, ‘certainly,’” said Prickett.
Now they say they’re just like family.
“He never has to ask us to come. " Diana Waldrip, another member of “God’s Kitchen Crew,” said we love each other. “This is where we want to be.”
And donations continue to pour in.
The church provides the facilities.
Volunteers and community support come up with the rest.
“Bacon, eggs, and sausage....” Wilson lists just a few of the items on the menu every Saturday. “I just stood up in church one day and said if anyone wants to come to breakfast to help and these people came.”
He even came up with the aprons for them to wear!
Appropriately, they read, “God’s Kitchen Crew.”
“That’s who we are,” Wagoner said. “We’re God’s Kitchen Crew.”
Doing the job means you should wear the uniform.
Wilson wore his until he retired from the United States Air Force in 1989.
Then, he worked for the FAA, where he was a safety counselor.
“He talks to people and listens to people,” Ramsey said. “He’s 100% behind us.”
Volunteers don’t just hand out food; they listen to needs.
“After our people leave, we would talk about some of the people who share with us some of their concerns, their heartache and we would pray for those and we would pray for each other,” Wagoner said.
Wilson also works as a lead volunteer at the warming shelter.
“Most that we had in one night was six people,” Wilson said.
It’s a place where people can go when the temperatures dip below freezing.
So how appropriate is it that everyone gathers here on the night that we surprise Wilson with the Gr8 Acts of Kindness?
He is elated, and so is his wife, Carol.
“Jesus told us, “In as much as you do for one of these, you do it for me. So it’s our responsibility if we see someone in need to help them,” Wilson said.
If you know someone like Mike Wilson, nominate them for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.
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