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By Dave Rogers
For the Record 

BC church opens seniors soup kitchen


Last updated 7/5/2022 at 5:02pm

Pastor Allen Chapin, left, join Linda and Duane Gault in the Bridge City First Church kitchen awaiting the Thursday opening of the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen.

The Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen at Bridge City's First Church, 201 Roberts, will open at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 7.

Initial plans are to offer a hot lunch weekly to Bridge City seniors not already participating in Meals on Wheels programs.

"We are targeting senior citizens to start," Duane Gault said. "But anyone who needs a meal, we're not going to turn them away."

"It won't be steak and lobster," Pastor Allen Chapin said. "Maybe spaghetti and meatballs. But it'll be hot and good."

Gault, who retired from his chemical plant job a year ago, and his wife, Linda Gault, a recent credit union retiree, came up with the idea for what they believe will be Bridge City's first soup kitchen and pitched it to Chapin at BC's First Assembly of God Church.

"Basically, my wife and I both retired and were looking for something to do together," Duane Gault said.

"We thought, 'There's a really nice kitchen at our church that we use for our church. How can we use this to serve our community?'"

Chapin was quick to approve the idea.

"They came to me and said they wanted to make a difference," Chapin recalled. "They told me their idea and said, 'Pastor, what do you think? Are you cool with that?'"

He was, and soon, more than a dozen church members volunteered to help get the program off the ground.

"My first thought when Duane and I first talked about it was, 'We want to do this,'" Linda Gault said.

"'But how are we going to get people on board?'

"Immediately, they jumped in."

The Gaults have turned for guidance to both the leaders of the Bridge City-Orangefield Ministerial Alliance food pantry and the Orange First Presbyterian Church Lighthouse Soup Kitchen.

Both the twice-weekly soup kitchen in Orange and the Ministerial Alliance in Bridge City operate with assistance from several community churches.

The Loaves and Fishes group is also aiming for support from the religious and business community.

"It's kind of hard to ask for help with something that's not yet going," Pastor Chapin said. "Initially, we're starting with donations from members of our church.

"We plan to apply for grants and seek donations and workers from outside sources. We've already talked to the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce and some businesses have said they'd like to volunteer."

Volunteers set to help with the weekly Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen gather before the Thursday, July 7 opening day at Bridge City First Assembly of God Church, 201 Roberts.

The response has been gratifying, Linda Gault said.

"The Ministerial Alliance and First Presbyterian in Orange have been very helpful," she said. "We hope other churches will join with us and it will grow."

To that, the pastor added his voice.

"This is not just about our church. We're not trying to get people to go to church here. We're trying to help our community," Chapin said.

"Hopefully, other businesses and organizations will help us. Hopefully, this will be a spark for other organizations in the community to come up with more ideas."


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