Lunchtime At Harundale Presbyterian

March 31, 1991|By Samuel Goldreich | Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer

The weekly lunch guests filed into Harundale Presbyterian Church about an hour after the surplus food ran out Thursday.

"They feed youa lot, fill you up. Then they come back and ask if you want seconds," said Rita, 22, from Glen Burnie. "Plus, they let you take cakes andbread home."

Rita -- who alternated between the last names "Bethune" and "Franklin" in honor of her current and childhood foster families -- is oneof about 20 regulars at Harundale Presbyterian.

"A lot of them are basically permanent wards of the state," church trustee president Charles Clauss said. "They're able to function in society, but for onereason or the other -- either physically or emotionally -- they're unable to work."

Altogether, the church feeds about 45 guests. Manyof them also eat at the Salvation Army on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Glen Burnie onTuesdays and Thursdays.

The lunch guests appointed Nancy Dorn as their spokeswoman.

"I like the food and I like the companionship,"said Dorn, 36, who lives in Glen Burnie with her black cat, Leroy Atkins.

When she's not eating lunch with her friends, Dorn structures much of her day around the television.

She cooks her own breakfast in time to watch "The Big Valley," then devotes the hours after lunch to "Night Court," the 6 p.m. news, "Mama's Family" and "Family Feud."

"I sit in front of the TV and eat dinner," Dorn said. "I watch until 8 o'clock, then I turn it off unless there's something good on."

Anxious to explain why he eats at the church, Jeffrey Boerner,29, gobbled down his second plate of mashed potatoes, string beans and roast beef (donated by Cub Scouts Pack 377 in Fort Meade).

"I've been unemployed for three months," he said. "I was layed off by theSalvation Army. I was a kettle worker for five weeks."

Before that, Boerner was an apartment complex janitor for six months.

He said the bills are taken care of between Section 8 rental assistance andhis diabetic mother's Veteran's, Social Security and retirement checks.

Boerner politely apologizes as he struggles to explain that hecomes to church daily because his mother, hobbled by diabetes, cannot leave the house.

"I'm using God's time when I come for lunch," he said. "Let's put it this way -- my mother can't come, so I come in her place."

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