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Everybody Eats

First United Methodist Church of Twin Falls will hold a Thanksgiving Community Feast Saturday as part of the Everybody Eats series, lead by Pastor Buddy Gharring, seen here at the church in April.

TWIN FALLS — How do we help with food insecurity?

This is the question that plagued Buddy Gharring.

The pastor at the Twin Falls First United Methodist Church felt that soup kitchens, while helpful in their own right, could only serve as a Band-Aid. Those facing food issues will rely on fast food as a quick and cheap option. Gharring wanted something else for anyone seeking help. That’s when the idea of Everybody Eats came to him.

Everybody Eats isn’t just another soup kitchen.

“People live on the edge,” Gharring said. “People are intimidated by cooking. A little simple education can help with that.”

Everybody Eats is a program started by the Twin Falls First United Methodist Church in June 2019. It’s both a cooking class and a way for people with food insecurities to get a free meal. Every month, five to seven people can sign up at twin.church/everybodyeats to take a cooking class at the church to learn a new recipe with a guest chef. The gimmick is that the meal is a healthy meal that can be prepared for around $4. When the class is finished, the group brings out the food to visitors for a free meal.

“It’s a team effort,” Gharring said. “If we don’t care about the credit, we can do beautiful things.”

Normally, Everybody Eats takes place on the last Sunday of every month. The classes with the guest chef start at 10:30 a.m. and lunch is served at 1 p.m. For the month of November, they are doing it differently.

Everybody Eats will be hosting a Thanksgiving Community Feast on Saturday at the Twin Falls First United Methodist Church, 360 Shoshone St. E. The cooking class starts at 2 p.m. Doors open at 3:45 p.m. The free meal is from 4 to 6 p.m.

“This gives them a place to celebrate,” Gharring said.

The chef for the Thanksgiving Community Feast, Barry Steen, said a classic Thanksgiving dinner will be served — visitors can expect turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. This is the chef’s first time participating with Everybody Eats, but he has volunteered as a chef at Victory Home Restoration Center before.

“I’ve cooked for 40 years,” Steen said. “I just do it to feed the people.”

Volunteer Ray Strolberg said that Seagraves Family Foundation is providing funds for the meals and volunteers from Twin Falls Nazarene Church and Amazing Grace Fellowship will be there to help.

“There’s so much need. We want the kids in the community to be aware of this,” Strolberg said.

The dining area will be adorned with decorations. There will be candles and plants and everyone will be sitting at one large table to create a sense of family.

“We’re trying to elevate these people and honor them,” Strolberg said. “This isn’t about us. It’s about being a part of a community that is happy to roll up their sleeves and serve.”

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