EARLY — “Early folks helping Early folks.”

That’s how Early Church of Christ member Sheila Dryden described the Community Meals of Early program, which was created after the Meals on Wheels for Early and Brownwood closed last summer.

Community Meals of Early began operating in early July, with volunteer drivers picking up hot meals prepared by the Care Nursing and Rehabilitation kitchen staff. The drivers deliver the meals to elderly Early residents who have been referred to the program through home health or their doctors.

The program, funded by the First Baptist Church of Early, the Early Church of Christ and Salt Creek Baptist Church, is currently serving 13 Early residents.

Dryden and two others involved with the program — Ima Martin and Jean Ann Watson, both members of First Baptist Church of Early — gathered in McShan’s office to talk about the program, which has served nearly 1,100 hot meals since July 1.

Martin said when she told First Baptist Church pastor Eddie Ailshie that the Meals on Wheels program had shut down, “he just couldn’t let that drop.”

Ailshie asked the Early Church of Christ, Salt Creek Baptist Church and Care Nursing and Rehabilitation to partner with First Baptist to create a new meals delivery program.

“I got a call from Brother Eddie and he said ‘hey, I’ve got an idea,’” McShan recalled. After hearing Ailshie’s idea, McShan thought, “what a wonderful opportunity.”

Martin, Dryden and Watson said the Care staff is great to work with and the good is wonderful.

“We’re in the business of caring for people.”

Dryden said, “The Lord put us on the earth to take care of each other. There is something special about taking the food, knocking on the door and asking ‘are you OK?’ It’s just a way of checking on them.”

Funding is currently available for a total of 16 residents.

Anyone who wants to donate to the program can send donations to the any of the three churches, or give through any Early church, Martin said.

On a recent morning, Early teens Slater Sosebee, 14, and his brother Jackson, 13, picked up a container of meals consisting of brisket, au gratin potatoes, peas, hot rolls and dessert, and loaded the containers into an SUV driven by their mother.

“This good food is the same food we serve our residents every day,” McShan said.