Bryan and Cheryl Scott are not professional chefs, but when their college age daughter mentioned she enjoyed a church-sponsored home-cooked meal while away from home, it planted a seed. Bryan noticed a gleam in Cheryl’s eyes and knew it was a calling.
A FAMILY MISSION
The Scotts have been members of Crestview Baptist Church since they moved to Georgetown 20 years ago, and say they appreciate how the city has sustained its hometown feel despite its growth. In 2014, they shared their idea to offer free lunch to the students at Southwestern University and were not surprised when leadership wholeheartedly supported their proposal. Their mission was to feed the students with no obligation or agenda in hopes of building relationships. They scrambled for volunteers, sent invitations to every university department, and opened their doors.
On their first day, they prepared a home-cooked meal for 100 students and were afraid they would run out of food. That fear was premature since only seven students showed up and four of them were vegans. But they did not give up on their mission to “accept students as they are, love them unconditionally, and serve them a home-cooked meal.” Fortunately, word spread and soon the numbers rose from 14 to 25 to their most recent attendance of more than 750 students and staff.
A CHURCH MISSION
Lunch is now supported by the church’s mission fund, private donations and a restaurant supply delivery service, but fresh produce is still hand selected. Each week, more than 50 volunteers begin the four-day prep required and, every Monday during the Fall and Spring semesters, lunch is served in Crestview’s fellowship hall and gym from 11am to 2pm.
Cheryl is adamant about her credo “We don’t do just good enough.” The 120 pounds of chicken for their now-famous chicken spaghetti casserole could be quickly boiled, but instead is grilled by Bryan and his band of volunteers. The giant salad bar with fresh fruits, vegetables, and homemade dressings and the six-foot tables laden with homemade desserts have been known to stop first-time attendees in their tracks. Vegan and gluten-free options are now always available.
Nourishing more than just body, “ChurchLunch” has evolved to include banners honoring graduates and mentorship programs. Volunteers even attend college events and support teams. The church’s objective is for students to feel pointed toward and connected to Jesus through the love and attention they experience. Bryan says “We want every student we come in contact with to feel like they’re someone’s favorite.”
Volunteers need not be members of Crestview and anyone interested is encouraged to call the church first to check for openings at (512) 863-6576. Donations are also welcome; checks may be sent to Crestview Baptist Church, 2300 Williams Dr, 78628; add “ChurchLunch” in the memo.