BRIDGEPORT - There's a new eatery in Bridgeport with a "homey" feel to it.
Thirteen years ago, Pat Taylor, along with Liz McHugh and Ann Demeski, started Lunches with Love in Jefferson County.
The three ladies had six customers every other week at first, but has now branched out to more than 120 in its existence.
T-L Photo/KIM NORTH
LUNCHES WITH Love held its grand opening Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its National Road location in Bridgeport. Pictured from left, are, Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce President Vince Gallagher; employees Liz McHugh, Ann Demeski and Pat Taylor; Bridgeport Mayor John J. Callarik; Chamber of Commerce members Gloria Barcalow and Robin Bursee; Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary Ann Gallagher; employee Dreama Bontempo; and owner Doug Marshall.
"My mom had a catering service, but she and the ladies got together and decided to do dinners and so forth to raise money so that they could go out and feed the needy," explained owner Doug Marshall.
Now, with the rise for those in need, Lunches with Love has opened its doors in the former Ponderosa building at 56080 National Road in the Gateway City. A ceremonial ribbon-cutting was held Saturday, with restaurant employees and local dignitaries involved.
"Under my mom's lead and her various volunteers, Lunches with Love has provided an important service to the community and surrounding areas," Marshall said. "The need for food delivery programs is growing and Lunches with Love desires to fulfill that need."
The restaurant's mission statement is: Serve the elderly, shut-ins, and families in need in our local area.
And that's exactly what Marshall and his staff are out to do.
"Thirteen years later and we are now giving out in excess of 300 free meals a week, and its down by a community basis," he added. "A portion of our proceeds goes towards our program to feed the needy."
Lunches with Love is a food outreach program serving as many people in need as possible through private donations and with the help of local ministries utilizing volunteers to help execute this vision.
All the meals are home cooked by the volunteers.
The program proudly delivers meals to seniors, shut-ins and families in need Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
For more information, contact (740) 738-0198.
Lunches with Love is also affiliated with the Brightway Center, being built near Smithfield in southern Jefferson County.
Kara Bright, the founder of Brightway Center, dedicated his life to children. As teacher and basketball coach at Buckeye Local schools, he produced many successful teams during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1997, he invited a group of his friends to join him in creating the Brightway Center.
Unfortunately, Bright passed away in 2005, interrupting his dream before it became a reality. However, he had taken the necessary steps to ensure the Center's future by exacting a solemn promise from four of his closest friends to uphold his dream and ensure Brightway's certainty.
The president and CEO of Brightway Center is Daryle Griffin, the brother of the only two Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin of The Ohio State University.
"Daryle is one person that I really, really rely on," Marshall said. "He visits her quite often and helps out with the business-end of things. He's a smart businessman and guides me along."
Later this month, Archie Griffin will be at Lunches with Love to personally sign an Ohio State jersey that is being raffled off. As part of Lunches with Love's grand opening celebration, they are partnering with the Griffin's for this event.
"We're not sure of the exact date yet, but Archie will be here sometime later this month to sign the jersey himself," Marshall noted.
To receive a raffle ticket, stop by the restaurant and fill one out. The contest is limited to one entry per person, however.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org