Free Easter meals, still in demand, draw shorter line of cars to church

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For 25 years, the New Bethel Christian Church has served free meals to the community on the day before Easter. They partner with local restaurants and, with the help of volunteers, give away a well-balanced feast.

Karen Bosse, owner of Butcher's Market in Raleigh described this year's menu: "We've got ham, barbecue chicken, I believe it's catfish, green beans and potatoes."

"And biscuits and sides," said her husband Andy as volunteers also shared Easter baskets for children.

The couple and Joe Lumbrazo, co-owner of Backyard Bistro, smile when asked about their motivation.

"Prayers, generosity," Lumbrazo said. "We've found that the more you give, the more you'll get back."

"Happiness! Giving back," agreed Andy Bosse. "It's been a trying year for a lot of folks."

The church's pastor Philip Brickle said at this time last year when they distributed a thousand free meals, "The pandemic had just started, and so we were bumper to bumper. The streets were full" of cars with people who really needed food assistance after job losses and fear of contracting COVID-19.

This year, we saw more volunteers than cars driving through the church parking lot.

"Things have helped a little, I believe, with the stimulus checks," said Rev. Brickle, "and people are back to work. So that's the difference that we're seeing. We're still gonna go downtown and we're gonna pass out food to the homeless when we leave from here. Everybody gets covered on Easter weekend!"

"The Raleigh-Durham community is absolutely wonderful. We're incredibly blessed to be a part of it, and we're just happy to be here today," Lumbrazo said.
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