Randy and Cynthia Hays are on a mission -- a mission to reach into the community to meet the needs of those who are impoverished, homeless or struggling with food insecurity.
The two, with daughter Summer Lomax, are moving forward with plans to open a soup kitchen -- not to compete with the senior meal program or the Abraham Connection homeless shelter, but to complement what both organizations are doing to meet the community's basic needs. They've given the name "King's Table" to their effort.
"We've been wanting to do something like this for a long time," the couple said. They recently relocated to Delta from Grand Junction, where they volunteered with Catholic Outreach for about a year to learn the ins and outs of providing wholesome, nutritions, hot meals to those who are hungry.
They've been stockpiling kitchen supplies, pots and pans, tables and chairs. As a result of the remodeling project at Community Hospital in Grand Junction, they've been provided with all the commercial kitchen equipment they'll need. Recent donations of a huge deep fryer and commercial hot/cold serving tables reinforce the belief that God has equipped them to serve the community. They just need a building, ideally one with about 10,000 square feet that will accommodate the soup kitchen as well as a year-round clothing/needs bank where everything is free, and a thrift shop where items can be sold to help buy food for the soup kitchen.
There will be no charge for meals. The Hays plan to generate funds through the thrift shop, as well as monthly pledges from individuals, churches and businesses. Many times, grocery stores, restaurants and other food establishments will donate perishables that need to be used in the next day or two.
"We believe that no one should ever have to go hungry," they said, pulling out statistics related to food insecurity in Delta County. While many people associate a soup kitchen with the homeless, the Hays point out that hunger impacts children, minorities, seniors and families. They hope to provide a filling meal at noon five days a week as well as the camaraderie that develops in a warm, welcoming environment.
The first step is finding a building, but once that goal is met, they plan to add services such as free haircuts, coordinate a Christmas toy drive and begin providing transportation to the soup kitchen from the smaller communities in Delta County. Since Montrose and Grand Junction already have soup kitchens, they don't anticipate drawing anyone from those areas.
The Hays see the soup kitchen as having a positive impact on the entire community. Volunteers will gain fulfillment by serving others wherever and however they can. All will have an opportunity to develop new friendships.
"It will be a group effort," said Cynthia Hays. Both she and Randy are getting out and about, developing relationships with churches and nonprofit organizations to learn how they can best fulfill their mission.
For more information on their vision to feed the hungry in Delta County, contact the Hays at 250-6637. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to the King's Table, PO Box 84, Delta, CO 81416. A receipt will be mailed for tax purposes.
On another note, the Hays say a previous request for containers prompted a generous response. Containers are no longer needed, but financial donations are always welcome.