Free spaghetti dinner available for students


The First United Methodist Church next to the Zurn Science Center offers monthly spaghetti dinners.

Many Gannon University students are savvy when it comes to finding free food.  One of these options is the monthly spaghetti dinner held at the First United Methodist Church, next to the Zurn Science Center.

The next dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with entertainment by the Erie Young Adults (EYA) House Band and a talk by Andy Kerr, the chaplain for the Erie City Mission, to follow.

EYA is a faith-sharing group that reaches out to adults between the ages of 18-30 and is led by Adam and Danielle Frano.  EYA worships with different leaders and musicians in the Erie area each Tuesday night and will be sharing its musical talents with those attending the spaghetti dinner Thursday.

The Erie City Mission is a social outreach program started in 1911 by the Rev. Bill Sunday.  According to the Erie City Mission website, Sunday inspired the Erie City Mission to open while he visited the area.

Andy Kerr, the chaplain for the Erie City Mission, said it was born out of a vision from a group of Erie businessmen and carried out through the collaborative effort of local churches.  The initial work of the mission was to help Erie sailors suffering with an addiction to alcohol.

Now, the Erie City Mission works at two locations in Erie and serves the community with many programs, including the New Life Program, a men’s residential recovery program that combines addiction treatment with Gospel study. Other programs include the Family Care Center, which gives necessary groceries and personal care items to families living in poverty; and free meal ministry, which feeds about 200 people lunch every day.

Kerr said he works with individuals in their addiction recovery program on the spiritual side of things. He helps participants with spiritual development and counseling, as well as leadership and spiritual development with staff of the New Life Program.

Kerr also runs the Getting Ahead program for community participants seeking employment and making steps out of poverty, heads community garden efforts, supervises the food pantry and clothing closet and manages the daily lunchtime devotional speakers and churches scheduled to help with our Sunday services.

Kerr said he hopes the three facets of his talk reach those attending.

“I am hoping people come away from the talk with a renewed vision for their life,” Kerr said.

“I am hoping to communicate the depths of God’s love for each of us [by explaining] that God loves us more than they even imagine, that we are helpless apart from Christ’s intervention in our lives…That Jesus gave his life to rescue the people he created and that we were created for a mission; knit together by God himself for a purpose and to love people as Christ loved us.”

Holly Dill, a sophomore double major in freshwater and marine biology and biology, said she likes going to the dinners.

“It’s a nice thing that the church does for the Gannon family,” said Dill, who plans to take part in Thursday’s dinner.

“I think it’s good to get everybody together in a Christian environment.”


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