ST. LOUIS — The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis is celebrating a milestone this weekend. The organization's Grill to Glory program, which combines food and fellowship designed for community outreach, is now present in 100 St. Louis-area churches.
On Saturday morning at Galilee Baptist Church in the 4300 of Delmar Blvd., Earl Beard served as grill master. In addition to barbecuing, Beard was also doing a little community building, which is the goal of Grill to Glory.
A short distance away, while getting ready for an interview, the church's assistant pastor, David Forbes, spoke to two children riding their bikes down the sidewalk.
"All right, you all go right around that corner, and next time, you listen to her, OK? You shouldn’t have done that. You cross at the light. Now go on down to the parking lot and get a hot dog and something to drink," he said.
As they followed his instructions and rode down the sidewalk, one of the children was heard saying, "Thank you."
Forbes said he didn't know the children.
"I'm assuming they're in the neighborhood, and you want to keep them safe. Any time you see young people, you're just excited. And you want to keep them safe and help them cross the street."
In the parking lot behind church, volunteer Ann Hamilton and others had a food distribution tent set up. Hamilton showed the contents of one of several boxes of food stacked up on a table waiting to be distributed.
Hamilton said they have other things available to help feed the community.
"Here in zip code 63108, we also give out resources as far as applications for jobs, energy assistance and mental health needs."
At Trinity Full Gospel Church, about 15 minutes away in north St. Louis County, volunteers were setting up the Grill to Glory tent and buns were waiting for hot dogs.
Bishop Beulah Brandon said her church has seen an impact thanks to its participation in the Grill to Glory program.
"There've been three people ... that (joined) the Step into the Light program for men who are really caught up in addiction," she said.
James Clark, the Urban League's vice president of public safety, said a lot of social service organizations are interested in joining the initiative to deliver resources through the neighborhood churches.