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Buffet meals and Country Store are a winning combo for local church

By Staff | Jan 29, 2013

The Pennsdale Trinity United Methodist Church on Village Road holds an "all you can eat buffet" dinner each month on the fourth Wednesday in their church social hall. The food is catered and donated by Tom Springman at the Country Store which is located just across the street in Pennsdale.

PENNSDALE – Good homemade food at a good price is always appreciated. That was the consensus of those who attended last Wednesday night’s “all you can eat” buffet dinner at the Pennsdale Trinity United Methodist Church. What started as a Southern BBQ last spring, now turned out to be a full course buffet with more traditional meats according to Tom Springman from the Country Store who caters the event.

Springman and his family own the Country Store across the street and attend the church. He saw this as a great opportunity to have a barbecue and donate the food, his time and staff to bring the community together. “It is a mutual relationship between the store and the church,” Springman said. “It’s a nice big facility that accommodates lots of people.”

Every fourth Wednesday of the month from 4 to 7 p.m., buffet style dinners are served in the social hall of the church located on 658 Village Road in Pennsdale. A lot of people in the church are involved. Greg McKee who is Secretary works with Springman on the menus. McKee organizes flyers for the event and distributes them each month while Springman decides what to serve.

February’s menu will include the spit-fired chicken barbecue and that is always popular according to McKee. On that Wednesday several church members and volunteers come to help set up the tables, serve beverages, collect tickets, and clear the tables. Many others make baked goods for the desserts that include a wide variety of cakes and pies to please all palates. Generally, a week before the buffet the two main organizers get together to finalize all plans for the monthly meal. It takes about two days to make everything for the meal, and serving time starts at 4 p.m.

Over three hundred people have been averaging for attendance, a jump from 200 when they started serving last April. Springman who has been catering since he was 15 said he has a pretty good idea on how much food to prepare. Last week they made 250 pounds of mashed potatoes. “In the beginning, unfortunately, we ran out of a few menu items, but we made adequate changes.” For example, gourmet potatoes were substituted for the mashed potatoes. “I made a pledge to never run out of food,” said Springman.

Members of the church prepare all the desserts and beverages plus volunteer their time every month to host the buffet supper which has become a major source of income for the church.

The event itself has proven to be a positive endeavor. Pastor Rob Ransom acknowledged that it brings in much needed revenue to fill the church’s needs, and exposes the local folks what the church has to offer.

“We will keep doing this to the best of my ability. And as long as we get continued support from the community, we will keep feeding families for a reasonable cost,” Springman added.