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A Place to Gather in Appalachia
December 12th, 2023  |  by

Since our Appalachia field started serving in Maytown, we have partnered with the Maytown Center. This organization has several buildings in the community that they have generously allowed CrossRoads to use for volunteer housing and community events. One of those buildings is the Lunch Room (also called the Gathering Place). This is not only where our groups gather for meals, but also a place for meetings, worship, and children’s events throughout the year. 

Volunteers and local children gather for a group picture in the Lunch Room after a racecar themed event

For volunteers this is a place to learn. Each morning and evening they dive into our devotional and worship times. Staff and interns lead discussions and students get to experience the bible in a new way. We also have local partners speak to groups about Appalachia, and Maytown specifically. Everyone also gets to learn about cooking for their team, as each group gets to help prepare the meals during the week. 

This summer we also started a new outreach effort. Another local partner, Warehouse Church, would bring a meal to the Lunch Room to share with the community. This way, through CrossRoads, a local church is able to reach into a small community that might not otherwise be exposed to that congregation. 

Kids play instruments and help lead worship time in the Lunch Room

For locals this building has a deeper meaning. If they grew up in Maytown, they might have gone to school in these buildings, eating lunch in the very same lunch room. After the school closed and the Maytown Center was developed, the Lunch Room was used to host all kinds of events, for birthday parties to club meetings to after-school programs. For a small neighborhood, this humble building turned into their community center. 

“There are so many things that happen in this space, it is not just a place where people eat,” explains CJ Noe in a recent video update. “There are so many conversions that happen here. Where people get to work through what it means to be loved by God and be a follower of Jesus. It is a place where people laugh, and they cry, and where we share each other’s stories.”

Watch the full video update here…

Due to the floods over the past few years, the Lunch Room has had significant damage to the floor. What started as a soft place has turned into a much deeper issue. With the help of some hard-working volunteers the demolition has been completed. Now it is up to the licensed professionals to get the structure back to supporting all the events the Lunch Room is known for. 

Demolition of the Lunch Room floor

“This project isn’t just about the floor, it is about community. It is about creating a place where people gather. Whether they are residents of Maytown or from another state.” – CJ Noe

Would you like to be part of providing this invaluable space for a small community in Appalachia? Donate to our flooring project HERE

Volunteers helping with demo in the kitchen of the Lunch Room
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