Wapak Loaves and Fishes


Every Thursday evening the FELC Fellowship hall is the scene of a joyous community
meal for anyone who wants the companionship of breaking bread together while enjoying the
rousing hymns and folk tunes of the Loaves and Fishes band. Now entering its 20th year, Loaves
and Fishes has become a beloved tradition in Wapak, not just for the many people who wouldn’t
miss a dinner but also for dozens of shut-ins who enjoy a meal delivered to their door.

 

 

  • The following churches and Christian organizations take turn cooking and hosting the
    free Loaves and Fishes dinners on alternating weeks.
    • Petersburg Parishes
    • Trinity Lutheran Church, Moulton
    • St. Paul United Church of Christ
    • First English Lutheran Church
    • St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
    • Salem United Methodist Church
    • Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
    New Bremen
    • Wapakoneta Family YMCA
    • Bethlehem Christian Union Church
    • Wapak Community Worship Center
    • Knights of Columbus #1272

Loaves and Fishes began with a vision and one person’s belief that what we do matters. In
December 1999, Vena Ryane turned her former restaurant, the Wapak Country Restaurant into a
soup kitchen ministry. By 2000, a committee of volunteers formed to refurbish the restaurant. In
July the first Loaves and Fishes meal was served to more than 30 people. Today the Loaves and
Fishes ministry has expanded far beyond Vena’s vision, serving an average 151 meals a week,
including nearly 100 dinners delivered to shut ins. More than a soup kitchen, Loaves and Fishes
is truly a community meal. One can feel the energy build when the Loaves and Fishes band
begins to play, and families line up for the cafeteria-style meal service.
Work, however, begins many hours before when volunteers set up the tables, prepare
the food and set up the dessert table laden with pies, cakes, cookies and brownies. Nearby there
is always a table of free non-perishable food for anybody who needs to stock their pantry. While
the desserts are donated by church members, the Loaves and Fishes pantry is stocked through
the West Ohio Food Bank. Aldi’s also donates non-perishables. Each church chooses its own
menu when its week comes up. Some of the favorite dinners that pull in hungry crowds include
chicken and rice casserole, pulled pork sandwiches, and Buckland United Church of Christ’s
famous meat loaf.
Loaves and Fishes is now officially a 501(c) (3) tax exempt entity and is also registered
as a non-profit charitable organization with the Ohio Attorney General’s office. The mission of the
Christ-Centered ministry remains the same as when it began two decades ago: “A time to
gather… fellowship…music… hospitality and good food. Service every Thursday runs from 4:30
p.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you have never participated, please bring the family for a night of fun or
volunteer to help serve. Please use the entrance at the rear of the church.
As Christ said, “For even I, the Son of Man, came not to be served but to serve.”
Mark 10:45