The Zion United Church of Christ in Tremont is a very small congregation with enormous hearts. They feed, cloth and care for hundreds of the needy.
"We get calls on a daily basis. We do diapers, laundry soap, we've even had some live with us until we could get them placed," says the Rev. Dr. Joyce Morris who has led the church for the past decade.
But those efforts to serve the poor were just dealt a devastating blow. A Johnny Cash musical tribute fundraiser that was going to include a Southern style buffet nearly has had to be canceled because someone stole the main dish.
Organizer R.J. Lukacs insists, "We will do anything to get our chickens back!"
Rev. Morris made the shocking discovery when a pool of blood and water outside the freezer looked suspicious. She opened one of the freezer doors and immediately noticed that hundreds of dollars worth of chicken was gone. The rest of the meat was left to rot.
"Not only did they take the chicken. They also left behind the other food that could be given to other people," said Lukacs.
At first the fundraiser was canceled, but now this resilient and dedicated congregation has decided the show must go on - even if there are only two weeks left until the big event.
"We're gonna have chicken, somehow, someway we're going to have chicken again!" Lukacs told us emphatically.
Sadly, the person who stole the chicken is someone the congregation probably would have helped.
Rev. Morris says, "It means so much to so many people, just to keep our doors open."
The "Train of Love," musical tribute to Johnny Cash is still set for Sunday, October 21 at 3 p.m. at the Zion United Church of Christ in Tremont. Tickets are $10. There also will be a Southern Style buffet at 12:30 p.m. Organizers ask that people R.S.V.P. for the buffet so they know how much food to prepare.
If you would like to help the replace the church's supplies, you can call Michael R. Lukacs at 216-926-6453.