Party in the Park in Price Hill

It was just another Sunday in Price Hill. Or was it?

People in the community were walking around in the summer heat. Many of them hungry, not only for food, but spiritual wholeness. They got a taste of both at Lord’s Gym Ministries (LGM) Party in the Park at Olden Park, just up the street from the Family Activity Center.

At 3:45 p.m. LGM staff and volunteers started setting up for the gourmet brunch by LeQuan “Chef Affischall” Mack, of Atlanta. On the menu: Fish and grits, brioche French toast with walnut topping, southern hash, eggs and chicken sausage and bacon (that could melt in your mouth!).

This is the second year that Chef Affischall has served our friends at LGM. With 9 years of culinary experience, the Chicago native works at Rock Steady in Atlanta, known for serving Afro-Caribbean cuisine “with style and grace.”

Chef Affischall said he learned about LGM from Tom Lipsey (LGM director of ministry partner development) and the Kroger Bible Study Men’s Group. Once he heard about the mission, he knew he had to help.

“I do this because I enjoy the fellowship and outreach with the gentlemen who are seriously putting forth an effort to impact the impoverished communities in Cincinnati,” he said. “It warms my heart and gives me great gratification to give back in ways I only dreamed of when I was younger.”

 Chef Affischall’s sentiment is shared by the many volunteers who lined up to serve the meal to LGM’s friends Sunday.

Dick, with the Men in Balance group has been helping at the Part in the Park events throughout the summer.

“It’s fun,” he said. “The events have been a success too. You really get to see firsthand the impact our service has on the ministry and the friends they serve. Helping here is rewarding. Once you see what’s going on here, it’s not a hard ask of yourself.”

Mark, who is apart of the Tuesday Morning Men’s Bible Study said once he saw what LGM was doing in Price Hill he was “drawn in.”

“How many times does Jesus tell us… get more involved,” Mark said. “So many of us live in nice areas and go to nice churches. We write our ‘feel good’ check or go on that one-time mission trip. Or, we might spend Thanksgiving serving at a shelter. Those are good things. Anybody can do those things though. But here, you’re really involved.”

Mark said those living in Price Hill are trapped the devastation of poverty and they need help.

“The only way out for them is to meet Jesus,” he said. “And that’s what Lord’s Gym is doing, introducing them to Jesus.”

Daryl is a first-time volunteer. He just learned about LGM this past Friday. His first impression: “I’m involved with a lot of different organizations, but his one is quite different,” he said. “This one is really touching the people… the staff and volunteers are becoming friends with those they are serving. That’s so impactful.”