People looking for a healthy and delicious drive-thru meal have another option on Wednesday nights.

First Baptist Church of Morganton hosts a drive- thru food service for Wednesday suppers from 5-6 p.m. every Wednesday at 502 W. Union St., Morganton. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children.

The church created the Food Service Department 35 years ago as a ministry. Part of the ministry is offering Wednesday evening meals for church members.

“The dinner not only gives members, a lot (of whom) are senior adults, a good home-cooked meal for a great price, but allows them to fellowship with other members during the week,” said Chef Suzette Pendleton, director of food service at FBC.

The church normally offers Wednesday night programs, including speakers from community organizations, Bible studies and choir practice, which are temporarily discontinued due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry expanded to include the drive-thru service for members and the community two years ago and offers free delivery for orders of four plates or more.

Pendleton is a trained chef who graduated from Asheville-Buncombe Community College in Culinary Arts in 1994. She discovered her love of cooking in 1983, after working at the Emporium restaurant in Morganton.

“I quickly found out I loved to cook and make people happy,” Pendleton said. “I originally wanted to be an executive chef at high-end restaurants, but when I found out the position was open at First Baptist, something told me to check it out. I would be back in town with my family and friends. God told me where I was supposed to be, and First Baptist Church has been my home for almost 22 years.”

Funds raised during the Wednesday evening supper allows for the continuation of the suppers and provides food to Meeting Place Mission as well as other missions each week.

“We are especially promoting it now because of the virus,” Pendleton said. “We want our members and community to have a delicious meal that doesn’t come from a fast-food drive-thru. We are a very mission-based church, and our food service ministry is no different.”

Each week, a different meal is offered. The menu is posted on Facebook and the board at the drive-thru for the following week. Orders are due by Monday afternoon.

The dinner on April 1 will include chicken marinara, confetti rice, sautéed broccoli and garlic rolls.

The drive-thru dinners will be available for pick-up at the east side parking lot near Burkemont Avenue. Residents interested in the meal who missed the deadline to order may drive through to see if additional dinners are available.

The church also offers in-house catering for receptions, community organizations, nonprofits and other outside groups.

“We will resume that when it’s safe for groups to meet,” Pendleton said.

Anyone can purchase a meal regardless of religious affiliation. Pendleton explained what to expect at the drive-thru.

“A huge smile and a welcoming heart,” she said. “If someone wants prayer, we will certainly welcome that.”

To order food, call 828-544-8127 or 828-437-2544 ext. 18 or visit www.facebook.com/groups/FirstBaptistMorgantonGroup/.

Barbara Jolly-Deakle is a News Herald correspondent and a member of the Morganton Writers Group. She can be reached at Babby Writes@CompasCable.net.

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