Church serves up meal fit for kings

Russell Kulp, an employee at MCSA, works Wednesday evening to serve a meal to residents at the Muscatine shelter. The meal of ham and potatoes and too many side dishes and desserts to count was prepared and delivered by members of the United Methodist Church in Illinois City, Ill.

Comedian Dana Carvey became famous for his Saturday Night Live skits about the Church Lady.

It was a funny character … some even might say, “Special.”

close upBut for the Church Lady to really have registered in this part of the world, Carvey should have included a few cooking segments. Everyone knows, in the Midwest, church ladies can really cook. And some of them from the United Methodist Church in Illinois City, Ill., proved it Wednesday with the feast they prepared and delivered for residents at MCSA.

The meal consisted of a giant roaster filled with ham and potatoes, along with homemade bread, numerous salads and at least four or five cakes. It was honest-to-goodness church food: Jello salad mixed with bananas and pea salad and Watergate salad. Yes, you could question the nutritional value of a salad made from pistachio pudding, canned pineapple, Cool Whip and marshmallows, but when added as part of the entire meal — mmmmmm goood. And very filling.

Everyone who wanted to eat — I’m guessing at least 40 of the 56 residents at MCSA — were fed Wednesday night. I know this after helping Russell Kulp, the shelter’s evening-shift employee, serve the meal.

It was a new experience for me, but not for everyone else. The members of this church have been fixing and delivering a meal to MCSA once a month for a long time. It’s something longtime residents — mostly those who live in the Men’s Dorm — anticipate and make sure not to miss.

Even though this was my first time to help with this meal, I knew about the culinary skills of the members of the Illinois City UMC. The church annually serves a Labor Day breakfast I usually attend with other members of the Melon City Bike Club. It also holds a harvest bazaar every fall at which they serve some of the best chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and homemade noodles you will find anywhere.

It has to be a lot of work for what can’t be a really large congregation. And it’s definitely appreciated by everyone at MCSA.