Jason and Jenny Matteson from Marshalltown have had it on their hearts to do something good for the community for a while, and they’ve decided to keep it simple while also infusing their love of food.
On Saturday afternoon, despite the wet and gloomy conditions, the Mattesons and three of their children prepared a hearty meal of hot dogs, pork burgers, smoked macaroni and cheese, fresh broccoli, and two different desserts and offered it to anyone who stopped by their front porch on the W 608 Main St. – totally free.
“We love to cook. We’re just foodie guys, so it’s just an overflow from our hearts. We’re the ones who have the big family meals,” Jenny said.
Jenny called their initiative a “continuation” of the nightly dinners offered at the House of Compassion, and they hope to offer a free community meal at least once a month in the future, most likely on Saturdays (Jason plans to adjust the schedule to suit others). community events so as not to disturb them). In addition to helping those who are starving in Marshalltown, the Mattesons hope that a campaign like theirs will inspire more thought about how they can give to the community.
“It’s hard to figure out how to target the people we really want to target, not that we’d turn anyone away. Everyone is welcome, but it’s important to us to really reach out to the people who need it most,” said Jason.
As Jenny recalled, the family recently spent “a bunch of money” on an expensive vacation, and she ended up not finding the experience all that rewarding. Doing something for people who may never be able to pay it back never goes out of style.
Due to inclement weather on Saturday, the Mattesons didn’t have a large turnout right away at lunchtime — information was leaked in advance to Marshall County Outreach’s Facebook page — but they’re hopeful more word of mouth will spread as people become aware of the meals.
“We talked about it because we knew it might take a little while before it gets out there (and) gains people’s trust that it’s a good thing and it’s legitimate,” Jason said.
When the initiative takes off, Jason also envisions collecting toiletries for donations, but for now he and Jenny are taking it one step at a time.
“We didn’t want to complicate it when we needed to keep it simple,” Jenny said.
Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or [email protected]