Big Hearts in the Big Country: Abilene Pastor Offers Weekly Soup Kitchen

By Brittany Pelletz |

Published 08/14 2014 10:44PM

Updated 08/14 2014 11:05PM

An Abilene pastor saw a need to help the hungry and wanted to help. In the beginning, Reverend Izaiar Lankford used his own money to buy the food. However, now that his weekly soup kitchen has grown, donations make it possible.

Every Tuesday during the lunch hour, things are cooking at the Southwest Drive United Methodist Church.

"There are many hungry people. Some homeless, some unemployed, some underemployed. And so we are here to feed the needed' says Reverend Lankford.

The idea started to boil three years ago, "I told the congregation at that time, we are not going to serve slop. We're going to serve the exact same type of food that we would serve at home," adds Lankford.

 At the first soup kitchen servings, around a dozen people showing up for a hot meal.

Pastor Lankford adds, "We give a full meal, complete each week. Not a cold cut, not a sack lunch but a full meal."

Three years later, the serving size is much bigger.

Lankford says, "We do anywhere from 225 to 330 meals each week, each Tuesday."

It's a tall order but, it's always fulfilled thanks to volunteers and the pastor.

"I spend the majority of the day on Monday shopping, getting what I need, and preparing for Tuesday," says Lankford.

 "I think he's real cool," says Clef Minton, someone who comes to the soup kitchen every week.

Minton says he is thankful for the meal and for everyone who makes it possible, ""I think it's very good. I think it's worthwhile because they're very friendly here. That's the main reason why I come often. I don't get treated any different than anyone else. "

When asked what Reverend Lankford gets out of serving the soup kitchen he says, " Pure joy. It's a joy to be able to feed the hungry and believe me when I say hungry. We have had individuals come in here and we allow them to have as many servings as they need to fill their hunger that they have."

 Lankford hopes he can stir up an even more of an impact in the future, "The long term goal, I pray the day will come where we would be able to do it more than one day per week. And when the day comes, that I will have to retire and can no longer do it, there will be someone to keep it going."

Donations are always needed. If you'd like to support the soup kitchen, you can drop off donations at 3025 Southwest Drive in Abilene.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.