For the past four years, members of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in La Cruces, New Mexico have been "Cooking for Christ."
Once a week, a group ranging from 7 to 16 people, gathers to make cookies, casseroles, soups and desserts for those in need. The casseroles, soups and desserts are frozen and distributed to church members who have had a death in the family, an illness or a new baby. Servings run from a single serving to enough for a whole family.
"We make anything that can be safely frozen," says Bobbie Myers, who heads up the Cooking For Christ group.
The cookies are shipped thousands of miles away to a chapel for American troops in Iraq. The soldiers have tagged the goodies "Cookies for Christ."
"It's so gratifying," says member Karen Swaney about making cookies for the troops. "We have received so many wonderful thank-you notes, pictures and even personal letters. One man is going to come and visit us when he gets home from Iraq."
The cooks are now working to make contacts in Afghanistan, so they can begin sending cookies to troops in that war-torn country.
Cooking for Christ is a self-sustained ministry, Myers notes. The cost of food does not come from the church budget, but from church members' donations.
The cooks and bakers in the group are men and women of many different ethnic backgrounds and age brackets.
Diane Rogers, who founded the group, says that was one of her main goals with Cooking for Christ.
"We wanted to get different people together to learn to work together," she says. "Our hope is that this inspires others to do something similar in their communities."
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