After almost a year at its current location, Dining In Christ's Kitchen (DICK's) will not only be moving to a new location but the name will also change.
"Due to the success of the open community meal held at Dick's Place (restaurant), the Christ United Methodist Church outreach team is moving the ministry to the fellowship hall of the chuch," said Joy Snyder, Outreach and Event coordinator at Christ United Methodist Church in Newcomerstown.
The free community meal first came from an idea that Dick Miller, owner of Dick's Place restaurant, had after listening to one of Pastor Russ Ham's sermons. The meal first started on Sunday evenings from 4 to 6 p.m. but switched to Mondays -- with a crowd of diners that has continued to grow.
"There wasn't enough places to sit," Miller said after they served almost 230 people one night.
On average, the number of diners is about 125 each Monday but when it almost doubled, they knew a change needed to be made.
That change was moving the location from Dick's Place restaurant to Christ United Methodist Church. The food, which is purchased through Journey's End Ministries and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, is already stored at the church. Now, the operation will be streamlined with the food actually being prepared at the church.
"I like to cook for large amounts," Miller said. "I'd rather do big parties with big crowds, so cooking for the community meal is perfect."
Snyder said she is excited about the opportunities the move will bring to the church and the community.
"We believe the larger space will accommodate more people and there will be ample parking," she said. "This change will also create opportunities to introduce new and exciting programs that are available for the community members."
Miller said he agrees. He said after patrons have gone through the buffet line, they like to sit and chat with their neighbors. With the move, there will be more space and more opportunities to do just that.
As far as who pays for the food, Snyder said its all by donations. Snyder said they can usually cook for about 100 people for $28 to $35 a week (or a Monday night). Whatever donations are left after purchasing the food, the money goes to the church's Care and Share mission which helps local residents with utility bills, etc.
"It's hard, in this day and age, to do something for nothing," Miller said. "It gives you a good feeling to do something -- that's the only reason why I do it."
The name of the ministry will also change as it moves to its new location on Monday, Feb. 2. The free community meal, with desserts provided by area church members, will be known as Christ's Kitchen.
"Nobody is doing this for recognition ... we're just doing this to help others," Miller said.
As far as the food prepared, Miller said he tries to make two meat-type dishes and sides to go with it. Last Monday, the menu included Johnny Marzetti, soup beans and ham, cornbread, carrots, poached pears and an array of desserts.
But, Miller said he always has hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for the little ones who take part in the meal.
"We don't want it to be a soup kitchen," Snyder about Miller's vision. "We just want people to enjoy a family-style dinner while eating out."
With the move and name change, Snyder hopes it will bring more opportunities for the community to take advantage of the church's programs and activities. But, more importantly, both Snyder and Miller want the fellowship and good food to continue.