BATTLE CREEK, Mich., -- Pastor William Stein believes in practicing what he preaches.
"John 21:17, Jesus Christ said 'feed my sheep'...We're supposed to get out here and fulfill our ministry," Stein told FOX 17 News.
Led by his faith and desire to help others, Pastor Stein founded God's Kitchen Battle Creek. When it first opened its doors in 2011, the soup kitchen fed hundreds of people, operating five days a week.
"There was a need for the program," he explained. "Battle Creek had never had a soup kitchen that served dinner at night, 5 nights a week, until God's Kitchen Battle Creek was established. It was 151 years before we began this program."
Due to schedule limitations at First Congregational Church (145 Capital Avenue N.E. Battle Creek, MI), Stein said they've had to cut back meals to only serve on Monday evenings from 5 to 7pm.
However, Stein and a crew of volunteers have branched out and begun serving free meals at a local complex for veterans, called Silver Star Apartments. A meal is served there every Tuesday from 6-7pm.
Stein plans, shops and often cooks the meals himself.
"When I lay my head down at night after feeding the Lord's sheep, I feel wonderful," Stein said. "It's rewarding for me. I mean, I meet a new soul everyday."
It is a full-time endeavor for Stein, who hopes to resume meals five nights a week for God's Kitchen Battle Creek. Stein said a capital campaign to raise money for a building dedicated solely to that purpose has already brought in $11,000 dollars.
This October, Stein said a special meal is being planned to commemorate the soup kitchen's four-year anniversary.
To date, more than 93,000 meals have been served at God's Kitchen Battle Creel, according to Stein.
"It motivates me to get out of bed everyday," he said. "We're going to continue this program, as long as we have the resources to do so."
As the August Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Stein will receive a $500 dollar check, courtesy of Independent Bank.
To learn more about the services at God's Kitchen Battle Creek, or to donate, click here.
Know someone who FOX 17 should feature as our next Pay it Forward Person of the Month? Nominate them here.