Community

Church hopes to give neighborhood a blessing with free coffee, doughnut

Thomas Hood, left, and Ralph Albert worked the tables as Dave Sanders, right, fixed his coffee at Harvest Worship Center Church of God's "Morning Blessing."
Thomas Hood, left, and Ralph Albert worked the tables as Dave Sanders, right, fixed his coffee at Harvest Worship Center Church of God's "Morning Blessing." Herald-Leader

Harvest Worship Center Church of God is finding a way to add a blessing to Cardinal Valley's Friday mornings.

The church started a program last year called Morning Blessing. The blessings consist of free coffee, pastries and fellowship in front of the church, at 1820 Oxford Circle, from 7 to 9 a.m. every Friday.

The program had been on hiatus during the colder months, but it's back now for summer.

The idea was started by the church's minister, Kenneth Menefee, and Thomas Hood, a member of the church.

"We are kind of coffee entrepreneurs and drink lots of it, and said hey, why don't we try to reach people out here," Hood said. "We wanted to give people something positive and encouraging."

Morning Blessing averages about 25 to 40 people. The volunteers make eight to nine thermal containers of coffee, and the pastries are donated by Kroger and Magee's Bakery.

"People pull up in their cars and walk by and say, 'Really, free coffee?'" Hood said.

"It's just a way to say 'Here's a start to your day, if you got up on the wrong side of the bed or whatever the case, or save that $3 from Starbucks, come here and get free coffee,'" said Hood.

The church, which has about 80 members, provides the free treats to give residents a boost first thing in the day and to reach out to the community.

"A lot of people are hurting, and they need to have somebody listen to them, to talk to them," Morning Blessing volunteer Ralph Albert said. "For some of them it's just a blessing to have a cup of coffee."

Valerie Jackson, who attends the church, stops by every Friday after she gets off work to grab some coffee for herself and her co-workers.

"I love it, " said Jackson, fixing her coffee the way she likes it.

Hood summed it up: "It's just a way to say, 'Hey, have a good day, have a morning blessing, have a cup of coffee.'"

The church also offers a free meal on the last Saturday of every month and a clothing bank.

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