The Kalona United Methodist Church has taken a summer ministry begun in 2014 and expanded it to a year-round initiative. The mission of Food for All is “to provide fun and educational forms of hospitality to help alleviate hunger and social isolation in the Kalona area.”
In 2016 the Kalona Summer Lunch program was open each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Over the course of the summer they served 1,700 lunches and had an average of 45 guests per day. People gathered not just to eat but to play games, make crafts, and read books.
This fall the church expanded this ministry, noting that they had experienced a three-fold increase in participation from the previous year. Twice each month they now offer a hot meal and a family-friendly movie on Sunday nights. The meal is served family style, enabling “people to come as families and neighbors to share together,” their pastor, Gerry Kahler, explained.
Although the church’s Fellowship Hall serves as the host for this ministry, Food for All is a partnership supported by a variety of individuals, businesses, community organizations, and churches in the area. This year a $2,000 Matthew 25 grant from the Southeast District is supporting this outreach in Kalona with funds made possible through the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches across the state of Iowa.