A warm, homemade meal is served to impoverished and sometimes homeless people and families every Thursday with the help of university students.
Some members of Alpha Phi Omega volunteer their time to serve at Agape Meal, a weekly meal hosted by Broadway Baptist Church. APO is a co-ed service fraternity whose members serve at events on campus and in the community.
Although November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, APO regularly volunteers every month to serve dinner to the homeless.
Freshman speech pathology major Jelene Wong volunteered at Agape Meal three times and said she liked that Agape Meal was not soup kitchen style. The dinner, instead, is served in a restaurant setting, and volunteers serve food for a table of eight who eat together like a family.
Student volunteers choose to work as a table host or a server. Table hosts sit with the participants and spark conversation.
Junior psychology major Michael Wolfe said he joined APO his freshman year and liked the social setting of Agape Meal.
There is a good balance of the social and Christian aspects in Agape Meal, Wolfe said. The attendees share in a brief prayer, eat and can attend an optional worship service afterward.
The Agape Meal for Nov. 10 included spaghetti with meat sauce, corn, salad and bread.
“I know people always complain about food at the BLUU, but at least we have food,” Wong said.
Besides creating a family-style dinner for the homeless, APO volunteers also interact with children during Agape Meal.
The age range of children participating in the meal is between two and 11 years old, Wolfe said. Depending on the night, between nine and 25 children could be at the meal, he said.
“I feel like [children are] the ones that need the most help,” junior nursing major and Agape Meal volunteer Karen Hough said. “You want to stop the cycle.”
A 13-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy sat at Wong’s table, and she said they attended school, played sports and aspired to attend college. They also said they attended the meal weekly, Wong said.
“Homelessness and poverty could strike anyone,” Wolfe said. “I feel for the parents because of their situation, but the kids are usually happy and smiling.”
The event makes the volunteers re-evaluate their situations and appreciation after meeting and helping participants, Hough said. TCU is very volunteer-driven, and APO is always open for more members, she said.
“My hope is that [the participants] realize that even if times are harder for them that they know that someone out there cares,” Wolfe said.