If you want to pray, want someone to talk to, or just want a hot meal that you don't have to prepare yourself, a congregation in Ozark has a great deal for you.
Wednesday night community dinners return to St. Matthew's Episcopal Church after a hiatus due to the safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each Wednesday evening, anyone is invited to dinner.
"We used to do these every week, a free community dinner, and then we had to shut it down because of COVID," Fr. Chandler Jackson explained.
Jackson has been the priest at St. Matthew's for about three years, but the Wednesday night meals have been an institution there for at least 11 years.
The events resume June 23, and the first will be an outdoor picnic, weather permitting.
"It's going to be a traditional picnic with grilling burgers and dogs," Jackson said. "It's free to the public, as are all of our Wednesday evening dinners, and we invite people to come by and join us for that, and for any of the Wednesdays thereafter."
A host of volunteers plan to invite everyone for baked spaghetti on June 30, followed by barbecue chicken on July 7, and then the cuisine will vary as the summer carries on.
"We have a variety of menus that we throw out," Jackson said.
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church moved from its previous location near the police station in Ozark. The church is now at 1932 East Highway 14, or South Street, and shares a facility with the Ozark Presbyterian Church.
"Actually now ,with our partnership with Ozark Presbyterian, they are going to start helping us out a little bit, so the two congregations are working together on a variety of projects," Jackson said.
Volunteers start serving food at 5 p.m., and continue serving until 6:30.
"Then we have a short worship service that people are invited to stay for, or they don't have to," Jackson said.