‘Canteen’ outreach starts in Jackson, Tenn., Corps
By: David Ibata
The inspiration for a “Community Canteen” – an outreach like the rubbertired variety, except stationary – came to Lieutenants David and Cheryl Moynihan as they reflected on the children at a playground near their Jackson, Tennessee, Corps.
“We have a mobile canteen that we use for outreach, especially on really cold nights,” Lieutenant Cheryl said. “We take food, water, blankets, things like that, to homeless areas. We don’t have a shelter but there’s quite a need, and we try to help where we can.”
“From that idea and ministry, we noticed right in our neighborhood a playground that’s usually full of kids. They’re usually hungry and thirsty, and we take water bottles and snacks to them.”
What if the corps dedicated part of its building, at 125 Allen Ave., to a place where those seeking food – physical and spiritual – were welcome?
“We tried coming up with a name and really liked Community Canteen, because that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Lieutenant Cheryl said. “It’s a place for people to come for refreshments, and because it’s in our corps building, it’s a place where we can give spiritual direction, ministry and fellowship as well.”
The young adults of the Jackson Corps are setting up the canteen, to open the first week of April at the back of fellowship hall where there’s a serving window. They’re fixing up the area, moving in a couch, love seat and other furniture, and hanging pictures to give the space a homey, café-like feel.
The corps will apply for a Kentucky- Tennessee Division evangelism grant of up of to $1,000 to fund a new coffee maker, table and other equipment. It’s also seeking the donation of a refrigerator.
The Community Canteen initially may be open 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays – “that’s the time we noticed people hanging around our building and the playground the most,” Lieutenant Cheryl said. It will offer bottled water, coffee and food donated by partners including Sam’s Club, Target and Kroger.
The corps is meeting with other nonprofits in Jackson, as well as the local housing authority, on possible partnerships to get the word out to residents of three nearby housing projects.
The Moynihans hope to serve 30 individuals a day at the outset and, eventually, up to 100. They hope the canteen eventually will be open daily.