Sharin' the Love Lunch Sunday in Cambridge

by Claudia Loucks correspondent

Residents of Cambridge and the surrounding area are invited to a “Sharin’ the Love” lunch on Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Cambridge Community & Youth Center, 407 North West St. in Cambridge, and it’s free.

A choice of homemade soups – chili, chicken and rice or vegetable, along with breads, crackers and cookies will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14.

The lunch is available by take out or delivery. Only one person per family will be allowed to walk in, order and take out the food.

Deliveries will be made to in-town residents and anyone in need of a delivered lunch is asked to contact Tammy Joyce, at 309-945-3005 to place their order.

Doreen Vincent, who with her husband Mitchell, own and operate the Community & Youth Center, said for the last several years there has been a Community Soup Supper on Christmas Eve…”We were not able to have the soup supper at Christmas because of Covid-19, and while brainstorming with the Center’s advisory board, we came up with the idea to have the ‘Sharin’ the Love’ lunch,” she said.

Barb Montgomery, a Cambridge resident, wrote a grant through Thrivent which provided $250 to help cover the cost of the lunch.

“We also received generous donations from businesses and individuals in the community to help cover the cost,” Doreen Vincent said.

The Vincent couple own and operate the Center, and Doreen Vincent said, “We are a ministry of Youth for Christ and part of the Peoria Area Youth for Christ Chapter. Although the events at the Center are primarily geared for students, we feel we want to also use this venue, the Center, to bless the entire community. At our board meeting, we decided that since we couldn’t do the Christmas Eve supper, we would find another way to bless and serve the community and we came up with the idea for the community soup luncheon.”

She shared the history of how she and her husband became owners of the Center and said her husband’s family ran the bowling alley that was previously in the Center, “and when the building came up for sale, we thought about buying it and converting it all to storage, but when we walked into what was at one time the bar area, we both thought there was something more we could do with it. Since the bowling alley had been such a staple in the community, and after much prayer, we decided it was time to give it back to the community.”

Doreen Vincent worked as a volunteer for Youth for Christ on a local basis as well as internationally for many years and said when she and her husband shared what they envisioned at the Center, a friend suggested she contact a representative of Youth for Christ, and that person was someone she had worked with 30 years previously.

“The national office of Youth for Christ had an affiliate ministry program that worked perfectly for what we envisioned the Center to be,” she said. “With their help, we began laying the groundwork and raising funds to get started for what we needed to do. Last summer we found out we were no longer going to be part of the national program, At that point we reached out to the Peoria Chapter of Youth for Christ and asked if they would be interested in us joining their staff, and it has been a perfect fit.”

The Cambridge Community & Youth Center opened in August of 2015 and currently is open from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Vincent explained the hours are limited due guidelines in place from the pandemic and she said, “We are hoping to soon add Wednesday afternoons.”

There is no cost for youth and activities include shuffle board, pool, foosball, air hockey and other games. Snacks are available and items are priced at 25 cents each. Water is free.

“We also offer help with homework and tutoring,” Vincent said. “The Center is also available to rent for social gatherings, meetings, family events, graduation parties and more.”

For more information, contact Doreen Vincent at 309-945-6936.

Doreen Vincent