Photo by Jesse Chambers.
Juanita Jones, Edrecus Carey and Mitchell Nash in the East Lake United Methodist Church kitchen.
East Lake United Methodist Church wants to create spaces to make community happen, said the Rev. Sally Allocca, the historic church’s senior pastor.
And food is a great way to build community, according to Allocca.
“Everybody eats,” she said.
During the summer, the church — along with nonprofit group P.E.E.R. Inc. — sponsors the East Lake Farmers Market. But East Lake UMC offers opportunities year-round to get people together using food. The church has its own diner and bakery. There is also a thrift store. And proceeds support the church’s community outreach, including free and low-cost food programs, according to Allocca.
The diner, open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., serves Southern-style food.
“We don’t claim to be foodies, but we serve healthy, hearty meals,” Allocca said. Lunch plates, including drink and dessert, are $7. Seniors age 60 and older eat for $4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The church has its own bakery that makes scores of goodies, including pies, cakes and bread. To order, customers can call the church Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The thrift store, open during diner hours, offers shoes, clothing, furniture and more.
“When [patrons] come to the diner or pick up baked goods, it’s fun to go in there and look,” Allocca said. “We have lots of space in this building. We’re trying to make faithful, creative use of this space in a way that engages the community.”
The church is at 7753 First Ave. S. For more information, call 836-3201 or go to eastlakeunitedmethodist.org.