BURGIN — Dozens of people waited in line Saturday morning for Burgin Christian Church’s monthly free farmer’s market to officially open.
The program, in its fourth year of operation, is always held from 8-10 a.m. on the last Saturday of the month during harvest season, said church pastor Josh Snyder. Anyone can come and get a free hot breakfast as well as fresh produce, baked goods, bedding plants and food bags.
Snyder, who moved to Burgin from Pittsburgh, Pa., less than three months ago, said he was pleased to come to a small church so involved in outreach efforts to the community. About 40 to 50 people come each month, most of them early to choose from the best selection. While most visitors live in Burgin or Harrodsburg, some drive from Danville. Most participants are not members of church, which has a congregation of about 60 people.
“We don’t pressure people to come worship with us on Sundays,” Snyder said. “Helping the people of the community is our main goal.”
With the economic problems in central Kentucky and beyond, the monthly event attracts people of different ages and economic statuses, said Rice Lear, a member the church for more than 50 years and an integral volunteer in the farmer’s market. Some people return monthly, while others just need one-time or occasional assistance.
Church and community members donate all items distributed to people in need. Some of the participants donate a small amount of cash or bring canned goods and other items, said Kate Snyder, the pastor’s wife.
“That’s really neat to see when people who need help still want to help others,” she said.
When someone walks into the parking lot of the church, he is greeted by several church volunteers who do not request personal information. Offering this sense of privacy is important to some of the participants, who are used to filling out complicated forms or answering verbal questions when dealing with government-funded programs or larger food pantries.
“It’s great to meet people each month who are so appreciative for the least little bit of help we can give,” Lear said.
This month, the first groups of people in line received their choice of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. Baked goods, some homemade and others purchased from stores, were offered until supplies ran out. Everyone got a bag of food staples. The breakfast offerings included two types of quiche that Kate Snyder made as well as cinnamon rolls, pound cake, fresh fruit and a variety of drinks such as lemonade and orange juice.
During the winter months, church members typically offer clothing and household items instead of fresh produce and bedding plants.