Polytechnic United Methodist Church is now providing free home-cooked meals to Texas Wesleyan students, faculty, staff and families on Sundays.
The meals are served every Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Bragan Hall and include such dishes as spaghetti and meatballs, chicken teriyaki and hearty casseroles, according to Brendan Peoples, who works with the church.
“We have always had a number of students that have worked with us on campus,” said Eddie Castlow, a chair member of PUMC’s evangelism committee. He and Peoples, his partner of 25 years, helped establish Open Table. “It gives us a chance to reach those who are living in the dorms. The church has a long tradition of interactions with the students at Texas Wesleyan, in that we have always been on the campus.”
Open Table used to be on Thursdays but that conflicts with other campus events, Castlow said. The event was moved to Sundays because it is a day when many students don’t have a lot to do.
Criminal justice major and junior Katelyn Matthews assists with Open Table and said free food is a major draw for students on campus.
“The food is great and I have met some new people,” Matthews said. “I would love to more students come.”
Matthews said she believe students just don’t know about Open Table and hopes that with more advertisement more people will join in to both enjoy good food and socialize with other students. She also encourages other students to get involved on campus.
So far this semester, around 15 to 20 people have attended the Sunday Open Table events, she said. The event has, however, seen larger groups for holidays, such as Thanksgiving; last Thanksgiving, 125 people received a free meal at the church.
Assistant professor of sociology Dr. Alison Simons said she hope the church will become a resource for students.
“There is something like 64 campuses across the nation now that actually provide food banks for students and so because there was an issue with students not having food, we felt we really needed to address that,” Simons said.
Simons said the even during holidays, students are more than welcome to come grab some food.
“Anyone who is on campus not able to get home or whatever for any reason are more than welcome to come have dinner with us,” Simons said.
PUMC currently offers breakfast items every other Wednesday; a table is set up just outside the church for whoever is passing one their way to class.
“We hope it continues to grow,” Castlow said of Open Table, adding that he wants the church to be a place for students to come together to eat, study and socialize. The church will be open during finals to provide a place for students to study when the library is closed.
“It’s free, it’s always good, it’s always hot, and easy to find,” Castlow said of Open Table.