Lots Cookin' at Belltower Mission
Family-run catering business gives away its profits
With the help of hard-working family members and hundreds of volunteers, Molly Lloyd of Bainbridge, Ohio has shown how a catering business can touch hearts, not just stomachs.
She and her siblings have converted an abandoned church in nearby Bourneville into Belltower Mission, a banquet facility for weddings, business meetings and other gatherings. Every dollar brought in, minus their cost, goes to mission work and the community.
"There's nothing fancy, it's all home-style food," says Molly. My sister-in-law Denise Litter and I do most of the cooking, using our own tried-and-true recipes." Twice-baked potatoes, baked steak, Pecan-Crusted Chicken, homemade rolls and fruit pies are just a few of the popular items on the menu.
"Since Belltower Mission opened in 2004, we've served more than 20,000 people."
Belltower Mission supports Campus Crusade for Christ and a "church planter" in Africa, plus sponsors a child through Compassion International. They also donate to Alley Kids, a local ministry and help families buy food or pay a heating or medical bill.
A Good Cook's Inspiration
Molly traces the start of her charitable venture to 2001, when she was asked to chaperone a youth group on a mission trip. To raise money for their travel expenses, she prepared meals that the boys served at their school. Good food led to a successful fund-raiser, and other groups began asking to cater.
She recalls, "One day I was driving through Bourneville, the town where I grew up, and saw a 'for sale' sign outside an old, vacant Presbyterian church I'd always loved. I heard God say, 'I'll give you this building for your mission.'"
Molly, her sister and three brothers (who operate a construction company) purchased the church in 2003 and began renovation. The building lacked indoor plumbing, had a leaky roof and holes in the plaster.
Nine months later, Belltower Mission opened for parties and events. Family members help with grocery shopping, decorating for banquets, cooking, serving and clean-up. All leftovers are boxed up as meals for the elderly.
Says Molly, "The community's reaction has been wonderful. Most are overwhelmed by this kindness. Many who have received help from the group have since come to volunteer at Belltower Mission."
Molly's recipe for Pecan-Crusted Chicken is a hit with newcomers and returning patrons of the mission.
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