‘I love the giving, I love the people’: Dozens pack Hope’s Kitchen for annual Christmas dinner

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 10:50 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2022 at 11:21 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - About 60 people packed into Hope’s Kitchen on Tuesday night for the annual Christmas dinner at Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church in North Myrtle Beach.

Since 2009, the church has been serving up hot meals for people who need them every week. Anyone is welcome to come by, whether they’re homeless, out of a job or just need some help.

This was the second Christmas dinner for Erika Reed and her children, who attended for the first time last year.

“My kids love to come here, they get a bag and just pick up little things they want,” said Reed.

When Reed and her children arrived in 2021, they were in need of help.

“When I first came here, this is something I attended because I didn’t have a lot. It’s now something I come to for help as well as it’s just a positive place to be,” said Reed.

All are welcome regardless of need, creed, or denomination.

Patricia Robinson has been attending the Christmas dinner for 14 years and said it’s one of the reasons she has kept her sobriety.

“I had my own problems many years ago. I was a heroin addict and in prison. I said when I got out this time, that my life was going to be different,” said Robinson.

Over 50 volunteers helped to make the evening possible, along with local businesses that pitched in as well.

“I love the giving, I love the people. I love smiling at them as they’re coming in,” said Cheryl Knight.

Knight and her husband, Arnold, have been volunteering since 2017. This year’s Christmas dinner actually fell on the couple’s 52nd wedding anniversary and they said there is no place they’d rather be than showing love and serving their community.

“I talked to a couple of guys tonight and said it’s going to be really cold this weekend. They said they were aware and trying to find a place to honker down,” said Arnold Knight.

Some of the guests at the dinner are unhoused, so they were offered a shower, clothing, and food items to take with them.

“One of the things we do at Hope’s Kitchen, that we’re most proud of is trying to make this a warm and welcoming environment for people to come in. That applies to our guests and our volunteers,” said Keith Kiser of Hope’s Kitchen.

Keith, along with his wife Cheryl, have been associated with the Hope’s Kitchen ministry since 2019. Christmas dinner was launched a decade earlier.

“Christmas for us is a lot of fun but sometimes this is the only Christmas meal that some of our guests will get,” said Cheryl Kiser.

Not one person tonight left empty-handed. There are services provided year-round, like the men’s prayer breakfast held on Monday mornings.

For more information about Hope’s Kitchen, click here.