Since Jeff Laipply lost his job eight years ago, he rarely got to enjoy a meal he would have ordered himself.
But Sunday, he was able to enjoy an Easter lunch served by Cherry Street Mission Ministries’ kitchen staff and volunteers at the Madison Food Service and Community Center, 1919 West Madison Ave.
It was the first time, organizers said, that kitchen staff had surveyed the center’s guests to come up with the meal’s menu items.
Mr. Laipply, a resident of Cherry Street Mission Ministries’ shelter on Monroe Street, had ham, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, gelatin, mixed fruit, an Easter cookie, and a blue-colored hardboiled egg.
He said it was just what he would’ve picked for lunch.
“It feels good to be here, having an Easter meal with everybody else,” said Mr. Laipply, 55, who used to work at a Perrysburg restaurant.
“It’s Easter and people are trying to be kinder to each other. Of course, I try to do it every day,” he said.
As the Toledo native was finishing his meal about 12:30 p.m., several dozen people were still standing in a line to get theirs. By that time, several kitchen staff and four volunteers had served about 125 meals since the event started at noon, with about 50 meals still left for those who would arrive within the next hour before the kitchen closed, said Cherry Street spokesman Amy Ambrose.
The volunteers serving the meals were working in sync, with the line of guests moving quickly.
Debbie Trzaskowski, a Toledo caregiver to the elderly, took a short break from serving to say that volunteering this Easter was something she had wanted to start doing for a couple of years. She was enjoying herself so much, she said, that she wants to serve meals again at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“I am Catholic. I read the Bible. I love God. I am a big fan of what Cherry Street Mission is doing. And I just love to help people,” Ms. Trzaskowski of West Toledo said, glancing over scores of guests.
Alfonso Jackson, 77, was grinning when he stopped to chat with friends on his way out after having his Easter meal.
“It’s good right here, real good,” said the Californian who has been in Toledo for the past few years. “I live on my own in central Toledo but I stopped by to have lunch here, with friends. Easter means a lot to me. And it feels good being here today, with friends all around, having their Easter lunch together.”
Dan Rogers, president and chief executive of Cherry Street Mission Ministries, told The Blade that hunger in Toledo remains a problem.
Contact Mike Sigov at: email@example.com or 419-724-6089.