By Ben Lawson
This holiday season, Parton’s Smokin Butz BBQ Family Restaurant and the Summit Church’s “The Living Room” coffee shop will be partnering to reach out to the community through food and fellowship.
Summit’s coffee shop is based on the idea that people should be able to eat at prices they can afford; it isn’t a soup kitchen. Rather, prices are considered “suggested donations” and customers are asked to pay what they can.
“This is not free food,” said Summit Pastor Bryan McKnight. “Our goal is to educate people not to waste their resources.”
Nevertheless, they won’t turn away anyone who is unable to pay. In the six weeks “The Living Room” has been open, they’ve given away $950 in free food. That number will climb next month when they host a special free Christmas dinner on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.
“We want to provide good food, music and a welcoming atmosphere,” McKnight said.
The goal is to reach out to people down on their luck, out of work or those unable to afford a large meal with their families.
Summit will be working closely with Parton’s to have plenty of food available. The partnership between Summit and Parton’s began when John Parton sought a way to spread their message to the area; “The Living Room” was the perfect outlet.
“We partnered with them to expand our menu and our community involvement,” McKnight said.
In addition to the special Christmas meal, their partnership also includes renting the Summit’s space for private events; other churches and non-profit organizations can rent for free.
The goal is to reach people outside the traditional limits of Knoxville and Seymour where other charitable groups rarely venture. “The Living Room” is designed to provide a clean, comfortable space for people to spend time.
“Even though this is all donations, we’ve gone above and beyond to make this a first class experience,” McKnight said.
Space for the Christmas dinner is limited; McKnight is asking for interested parties to contact “The Living Room” at 622-2019 and indicate how many will be attending. The Summit Church is located at 8729 Chapman Highway.
Food and Fellowship
By Ben Lawson