MORRIS – When you are homeless, finding a meal can be difficult; finding a hot meal is near impossible.
“I’ve been coming to Chapin Park to have lunch with Cathy and Gordon for the last couple of months,” Ken Davis said. “It gives me a chance to eat. These people are awesome.”
Davis is like many homeless – in need of a hand up, not necessarily a hand out. With the help of Gordon and Cathy Milne and We Care of Grundy County, Davis will move into a new apartment this week after securing a job working 40 hours a week.
Cathy Milne is on boards with We Care and Public Action to Deliver Sustenance – commonly known as PADS. She also operated the Coal City Clothes Closet for several years.
She noticed in the spring, after PADS closed, there was a need for an extra meal. On Thursday nights, PADS offers a dinner at St. Vincent Table in Morris, hosted by the First Presbyterian Church, and another meal on Sundays by a local congregation.
But that leaves a lot of days with no meal.
“When they are at the shelter they leave with lunch every day,” she said. “But from April to October, there is no lunch for them.”
So she and her husband, Gordon, started serving a free lunch in Chapin Park every Tuesday at noon.
“It’s geared toward the homeless, but anyone who needs a meal can come,” Cathy Milne said. “We eat, talk and have fellowship.”
She said the weekly lunch is her ministry.
“This is our church,” she said. “We don’t push religion on anyone, but Christianity often comes up in conversation.”
It also gives people attending a chance to talk with someone about what is going on in their lives. For Davis, it gave him a place to meet with his son each week.
“It gives us a chance to build trust,” Gordon Milne said. “A lot of them ask what the catch is. There is no catch.”
Lunch is served each Tuesday at Chapin Park at noon. If it is raining, lunch is served at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 317 Goold Park Drive, in Morris, a block from Chapin Park.