What is more inviting than a hearty casserole, full of delicious meat, cheese, pasta, or rice? It always promises to fill empty stomachs, and in the case of our Catholic Action Center Casserole Ministry, it fills hungry souls with the love of Christ served by caring hands.
The CAC Casserole Ministry here at Christ the King is led by Celina Magana who, with the help of Carol Keslin and Mary Kelly, coordinates the parishioners who have signed up to donate casseroles. The ministry provides these casseroles on the first and third Fridays of the month at the CAC, located at 1055 Industry Road.
The CAC was founded through the Diocese of Lexington in June 2000 and is a faith-based outreach of volunteers who provide three meals a day, shower and restroom facilities, mail receipt service, telephone access, clean clothing, and shelter to those in need.
“The number of those helped varies, but the CAC serves 150 people a day, and sometimes in the winter it goes up to 200,” Celina says.
During the Stewardship Renewal, those interested in providing casseroles may sign up, and their names are forwarded to Celina. She works from a main email list of 116 casserole donors. Three to four days before the casseroles are needed, she sends out an email so those wanting to prepare the food can respond, and she can determine how many casseroles are needed. The donors for that particular Friday then have the time to choose the casserole, shop for the needed ingredients, and prepare the dish. Donors are asked to prepare a casserole that will serve 10.
“Some bring a couple casseroles, and a lot fix three,” Celina says.
The donors bring their casseroles to our church and they are delivered to the CAC.
“This makes it a lot easier for the donors,” Celina says. “It is easier for them to pull into our parking lot to drop things off.”
The donors are free to choose what casseroles they prepare, but there are guidelines.
“They have to be nutritious and hearty, and something that will be filling,” Celina says. “Unfortunately, this means no salads or fresh fruit, as it would go bad, but we request something appetizing for people. Pastas, rice, meat, and some cheeses are good ingredients.”
The act of preparing a delicious casserole certainly falls under the umbrella of stewardship, with the donors using their time, talents, and treasure to provide the food for others in the community.
“Oh, absolutely,” Celina says. “We have very talented cooks in the parish and they want to share. It takes a lot of work, but this is very meaningful.”
Anyone who wants to become a casserole donor is welcome, and there are other needs at times.
“Sometimes they need snacks or breakfast foods, and we are a community of donors to provide items needed,” she says.
Other Lexington denominations also provide food for the CAC.
“It’s a community effort to feed everybody in need,” Celina says. “If there is a need for something that is needed in addition, the CAC will let us know. We’re able to manage it. Our donors are absolutely amazing!”
For more information about the Casserole Ministry, log onto the parish website, cathedralctk.org, and click on the drop-down menu for “Serve With Us.” On the left side menu, click on “Catholic Action Center.” Under that heading, you will find “casserole recipes.”
If anyone wants more information or to become a casserole donor, or provide other food items, contact Celina Magana at 859-447-5998.