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updated: 1/8/2013 11:55 AM

4th Tuesdays Community Supper at St. Mark's Lutheran Church

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Dana Sanderson

St. Mark's Lutheran Church in St. Charles launches a monthly free community supper on Tuesday, January 22nd from 5:00 to 7:00pm in the Fellowship Hall. "4th Tuesdays Community Suppers" is sponsored by Soul Kitchen, an outreach ministry of St. Mark's dedicated to providing delicious meals to members of the Fox Valley community in a relaxed and friendly environment.

On the menu for January's community supper at St. Mark's is glazed ham, herbed rice, green bean casserole, salad and dessert. Organizers anticipate approximately 150 diners at the first supper and plan on the number growing as word gets out about the great food and more area residents learn about the meal. Community suppers are free of charge, and donations are appreciated as the goal is for the meals to be self-sustaining.

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Soul Kitchen was conceived by volunteers at St. Mark's in July of 2012 and work on the community supper has been in high gear since last fall. Director Kathy Olesuk leads an enthusiastic team of creative and dedicated fundraisers, cooks, bakers, servers who are all excited about the January launch. "We are so excited about joining the ranks of other organizations hosting community suppers! Creating a self-sustaining, donation and volunteer driven meal for 100 -- 200 neighbors is no small task!" says Olesuk. "We are also grateful to supporters and experts from other area supper programs who have shared their experiences and advice with us, down to the last detail."

St. Mark's is following the lead of four other area churches that offer monthly meals as a way to provide a nutritious meal, build community relationships, and help alleviate budgetary concerns many families are experiencing in a difficult economy. Taking the 4th Tuesday of each month, St. Marks joins the other successful meal programs "Two Guys and Free Spaghetti" at St. Charles Episcopal Church, "Third Tuesday Supper" at the United Methodist Church in Geneva, "Third Friday Supper" at Fox Valley Presbyterian, and "Last Friday Supper" at Bethany Lutheran Church in Batavia. Each program has its own unique presentation and flair.

According to Olesuk, the community meals are increasing across the country as a way of providing an opportunity for people to connect with each other and meet neighbors. "The success of community meals is testimony to people's growing need to reconnect with their families, their communities, and their spiritual lives. Coming together in fellowship reinforces what we all have in common and reassures us that our friends and neighbors are doing okay as well."

St. Mark's Lutheran Church is located at 101 South Sixth Avenue next door to the St Charles Public Library. For more information about "4th Tuesdays Community Supper", contact Kathy Olesuk at kfolesuk@yahoo.com.

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