Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Parish Center

Volunteers with Branson Convention Center Chris Pearson, from left, Tommie Kelly and Blanca Haden serve food Wednesday at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Parish Center.

Folks living in the Branson area who are hungry have the opportunity to eat three free meals a week, thanks to Loaves and Fishes.

Every Monday at First Baptist Church of Branson, Wednesday at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Parish Center and Friday at Salvation Army, volunteers serve meals from 5:30-6:30 p.m., according to Salvation Army Chairman Jim Lawson. Loaves and Fishes finishes Feb. 27.

Audrey Garrity, of Hollister, goes to as many meals as she can. Having moved to southwest Missouri from northern Illinois three years ago, Garrity said she is retired and on a fixed income.

“It saves us, number one, a ton of money,” she said. “Financially, it’s amazing.”

Going to Loaves and Fishes also gives Garrity a chance to socialize.

“I’m definitely a people person,” Garrity said.

Lawson said he’s been working Loaves and Fishes for about five years.

“Loaves and Fishes now is a part of the Salvation Army,” Lawson said. “For many years, it was me, but it’s good to have it be a part of the army.

“We see this as a outgrowth of our mission we’re called for to help people with food.”

Lawson said he is always looking for donations for paper goods. The meals are usually served on paper plates, drink from paper cups and folks use plastic utensils.

“That’s several thousands of dollars a year,” Lawson said.

Although Loaves and Fishes just started back up, Lawson said more people are expected to utilize the program.

“There seems to be a growing need,” he said.

To donate or for more information, call the Salvation Army at 417-339-4434.

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