In search of churches, businesses to sponsor once-a-month hot meal service

Marlene Banks and Robert L. Banks Sr. at church.

Marlene Banks and Robert L. Banks Sr. at church.

By Sonja Reis | MRCDC

Longtime McKees Rocks resident and Sto-Rox employee Marlene Banks is on a mission.

Her mission, a project entitled “Welcome to the Table,” is designed to ensure everyone in the Sto-Rox region has access to a hot meal at least once a week. She knows she cannot do it alone, so has invited area churches and businesses to join hands together at this same table to make the magic happen.

“This is my baby, this is my assignment. Anytime God places something in your heart, it will be done, it can be done,” says Mrs. Banks, 69, a deacon at Destiny of Faith Church and a board member of the social services agency Focus On Renewal. She worked for the Sto-Rox School District for 28 years and is known to many locals because of her time spent as a parent and community liaison for the district.

So far, the response has been encouraging. Christ Community Church has volunteered its building at 900 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks to serve as the host for these Wednesday night meals. Christ Community already serves as a Meals on Wheels center and provides a monthly community dinner.

Several other churches, including St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in the Bottoms and Destiny of Faith Church in Brighton Heights, have signed on to provide the food, as well as cook and serve meals on specific dates for the Welcome to the Table program. Sponsoring groups are asked to commit to one week per month.

Mrs. Banks says she is hopeful other churches and businesses will get involved once they see how little they have to do.

“Together we are stronger,” she says.

The proposed launch date for this program is January 10, 2018, with meals being served Wednesdays evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. Mrs. Banks and her family and friends will be hosting the inaugural supper.

To sign on to help out for either one week or several, contact Mrs. Banks at