Warren Family Mission serves 3,000 Easter meals

Organization also hands out 300 baskets for local children

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Sarina Vesa of Warren, right, and Brandon Grimm of Warren, center, both first-time volunteers at the Warren Family Mission, serve Easter dinner to Fred Schall of Warren during the annual Easter dinner at the Mission.

WARREN — Volunteers and staff at the Warren Family Mission spent Good Friday preparing more than 3,000 Easter meals for area residents.

The workers arrived at 5 a.m. Friday to begin fixing the ham dinner.

Cait Gilger, director of development at the Mission, said the four-hour event had people waiting in long lines outside the mission as early as 9 a.m. — three hours before the noon start. In addition to serving meals at the mission, meals also were taken to area elderly, handicapped and shut-ins.

Gilger said 300 Easter baskets also were given to local children in addition to a raffle for 10 bikes.

“We wanted to provide a nice meal for families for Good Friday. It was very rewarding to be able to do this since there is such a need for many families,” Gilger said,

Helping at the event were members of local churches, who served meals, and MedStar ambulance employees, who delivered meals.

Chris Popescu, chef at the Mission, said he had a feeling of satisfaction to be able to help people at Easter, noting he also prepared meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

He and others prepared 950 pounds of ham, 640 cups of macaroni salad, 900 cups of baked beans, 20 gallons of potato salad, 50 gallons of corn and 45 gallons of coleslaw.

“There are people who are homeless and have nowhere to go, so I wanted to be here to help however I could,” said Marcus Lopez, a staff member at the Mission who started at 5 a.m. preparing food.

Fourteen-year-old Byron Partin of Warren was assigned to put corn on people’s plates.

“It was a pleasure to be able to help people and provide comfort to them at Easter. It was fun to do this,” he said.

Partin said for Easter, he will spend the day with his aunt, who came to Ohio from Las Vegas.

Faye Shavers of Warren said she was getting carryout meals to take home.

“I appreciate this. The food was great,” she said, noting she will spend time with her family on Easter.

Vickie Shick of Warren and Paula Rock of Howland were with their families at the Mission.

“This was a really nice event with good food and good company. It is nice the mission invites the public,” Shick said.

Nine-year-old John Rock said he liked the ham and was looking forward to seeing the Easter Bunny this weekend.

Shick said she and Rock will hold a family cookout on Easter.

Don Strock of Southington was among the volunteers.

“It’s always good to be here and help people out,” he said.

Debbie Brisco of Yankee Lake, who also volunteered, said there were many area church members and also a local organization for those who are deaf that helped out as well.

“I went wherever they needed me to be. My heart is here,” she said.

Gene and Sally Fowler of Mecca with Central Christian Church in Warren spent the day serving meals and clearing the tables.