Free dinner, party of 200

Out of weekly pick-up meals comes community sit-down

Members of the Community Untied Methodist Church in Slingerlands are not strangers to serving up big helpings of homemade food with their ubiquitous Zippy Dinners, but they're serving up a meal of a different type come Sunday.

The church is slated to hold a free community dinner for more than 200 people Sunday, Oct. 2. Anyone is welcome as long as they call ahead for a reservation, said organizer Dolores Johnson.

The Giving Back to the Community Dinner is not only a nice event, she said, but a way to recognize those who have faithfully purchased the church's fundraising dinners.

"We're trying to get the community together," Johnson said. "We want them to come to have fun and meet each other and have a good dinner."

Community United Methodist Church has been offering pick-up "Zippy Dinners" for about a decade now on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The original idea was to draw families coming home from nearby soccer matches.

"Instead we got other people, but not them," Johnson said. "It's kind of been really fun seeing it evolve. We started out serving about 30 people and now we're up to about 80 to 100 people depending on the dinner."

The church usually does six to eight dinners in the spring and fall every year. It's a good fundraiser for the modest-sized congregation, said Pastor Laurel W. Phillips. The church is heavily involved in local missionary work, and regularly contributes to Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, Habitat for Humanity and the Bethlehem Town Food Pantry.

"For a small congregation they really do a lot of outreach," said Phillips, who just came to United Methodist in July. "It's a congregation where most everybody who comes is fairly active in doing something."

But this will be the church's first time offering a free meal. They'll have the help of Girl Scout Troop 1229, which has volunteered to handle serving duties. A member of the congregation is funding the dinner, making it possible to offer it for free.

The meal will be homemade chicken and biscuit dinner, which has been a highly praised Zippy Dinner offering.

The "Giving Back to the Community Dinner" will take place Sunday, Oct. 2, with seatings at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Donations to go to the cost of the event are appreciated, but not required. Call ahead for reservations at 439-1766. The Community United Methodist Church is located at 1499 New Scotland Road, Slingerlands.


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