Every Wednesday, Jacob Lamb begins preparing big vats of homemade chili or Mom's Chicken Noodle soup.
There is a place on the east side of Camdenton with an unassuming yellow metal building and a vacant appearance. The Key Gathering Place is deceiving- because the minute you walk in the door, the pleasant aroma from the kitchen hits your nose. The warm wood walls of the lodge style room draws one in as a place to just sit down and have something tasty to drink and eat.
You’re in luck at The Serving Table, because the refreshments are without charge.
Every Wednesday, Jacob Lamb begins preparing big vats of homemade chili or Mom’s Chicken Noodle soup. Jacob slow simmered chicken that morning, and hand prepped carrots, celery, and onions for the days offering. Donated additions of snack sized bags of chips and granola bars, and beverage station round out the free meal served from 11am until 6pm every Wednesday.
Right now, it’s a one man operation. However, Lamb has plenty wanting to lend a hand when numbers he serves increases. Some will be onsite simply to uplift those in need with a friendly smile, a friend to talk to, and host the cozy place to get together. Lamb would like to see people come hang out, play cards, or games, and give the Gathering Place a coffee shop feel.
Everything is free here. Donations are accepted. There are no economic guidelines to those patronizing The Serving Table or the Key Gathering Place in which it is located. Jacob just wants to help those in need.
Lamb, a 32 year old Rolla native, launched a soup kitchen on Fridays called Lunch and Laundry while living in Rolla.
He shares “The Vineyard Church had a free laundry outreach. So I was like if these people don’t have money to do laundry they probably don’t have enough money to buy food. I started cooking soup every Friday to serve to the people doing laundry. After 2 years of doing that I moved up here for my wife’s job. Still being led to serve others, I have been looking for the right place and opportunity to open up a soup kitchen here in town.” That ministry that Lamb started in Rolla is now a full fledged food service in the basement of the Vineyard Church, called The Mission. It not only provides free laundry service to those in need, it is now feeding people, offering free shower facilities, and three meals a day.
Jacob does not have any formal chef training, he says he just really enjoys cooking for and feeding people. Partnerships with area restaurants and grocery stores for donations of surplus food are in the works.
Lamb is a member of Heartland Worship Center. That is where he met fellow Heartland member Bill Mundhausen who is the owner of The Key Gathering Place. Bill heard of Jacob’s ministry in Rolla, and asked him if he would be interested in doing something like that in The Key’s facility.
Jacob Lamb’s wife, Carlee Lamb, administrates social media platforms for The Serving Table. She works a lot behind the scenes with managing donations and organizing the operations. By the way, this couple does all of this on their day off from their regular jobs. Jacob works at WalMart in Osage Beach. Carlee is an occupational therapist at St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City.
Lamb reports that their goal is to provide a warm and welcoming environment to serve people, converse, build relationships and support people in the community. For now they will begin with serving one day a week, but the Serving Table’s vision is to eventually serve 5-7 days a week. In order to do more, the center needs volunteers, donations, food donations and cooking equipment. They would like to see people come together as a community and serve one another.
Lamb said, “Right now, Since it’s our first month we have just had people from the community donate food.” Donations have been generous. Lamb reports he has had to shop for very little to prepare the meals.
The Key Gathering Place is a community center that provides social enjoyment, learning, and material resources much like area churches, but different. It’s facilitated by people from different occupations and churches to share their gifts, serve the community, and build unity. In addition to hosting The Serving Table meals, they would like to offer intimate music concerts, club meetings, teacher presentations, and group get togethers.
The Serving Table is located in The Key Gathering Place 1163 So. Hwy 5. Camdenton.
Donations can be made online at http://www.keygatheringplace.com/monthly-funding.