Youth group to host an ‘Evening in Italy’

Published 7:14 pm Thursday, June 4, 2015

A local youth group is preparing to host area residents for an Italian restaurant experience tonight.

The youth group at Cornerstone Family Worship Center Church of God will host an “Evening in Italy,” a restaurant-style experience complete with Italian cuisine, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the church’s fellowship hall. In its second year, the event will feature all-you-can-eat spaghetti and meatballs and chicken alfredo for the main course, a drink and a dessert for $7 per person. The meal also includes a self-serve salad bar. The church would appreciate if those interested would call ahead for reservations.

According to Josh McIntyre, youth pastor at Cornerstone, middle and high school youth group members will not only cook the food with aid from volunteer parents, but will also play roles hosting and seating patrons, taking orders and other aspects of food service. Decorated by volunteers and youth, the fellowship hall has been fully decorated to provide an environment similar to a traditional Italian restaurant. Youth members will look the part, as well, donning black and white attire as waiters and waitresses, McIntyre said.

McIntyre said participating youth will come together several hours prior to the event and receive training on how to walk with pitchers, serving trays and how to conduct themselves as waiters, waitresses, hosts or whatever part they may play.

Though the event will give the youth members experience in food service and allow them to be a part of a special project — simulating an Italian restaurant — it also serves as a fundraiser for the youth to be able to go on trips during the summer. McIntyre has given the youth a way to raise their own money, allowing them to participate in events in other places during the summer, he said.

“The key thing we are pushing for is them taking actual ownership,” McIntyre said. “It’s almost like a job. We tell them, ‘What you put out is what you get in return.’ They hopped on (the event) and helped out, and now when it comes to it, through the summer, they won’t have to pay out of pocket for these different events.”

Dubbed OTOTOFY (Our Today, Our Tomorrow, Our Future, Youth) youth group, the church plans for the youth to attend Church of God Eastern NC Campground in Kenly, a statewide Church of God camp where churches under the denomination meet for conferences and other events and activities. With the cost of each member’s attendance fees being $110, attendees have the chance to experience a full week of camp complete with fun activities, games and worship experiences with peers, McIntyre said.

Last year, the group raised enough money through the restaurant event that they were able to take a trip to the same camp in Kenly for a conference that allowed them to be among their peers, McIntyre said.

According to Lisa Reid, public relations and special event planner for the church, the youth group opens its doors to community children, as well. Reid gave comments about the church’s outreach, as well as the youth heading the event.

“We have other kids that come in from the community, and we get them to join,” Reid said. “We just minister to children, in general. As a mother, I think (McIntyres) are very innovative, and they’re trying to do things to keep the children interested while raising money. But everything depends on how much money is in the pot. We don’t want the children to have everything handed to them so we have them work for a lot of the things being presented to them. We want them to have a hand in what’s going on in their group. The key is to know that in life you need a good work ethic to do anything.”

Cornerstone Family Worship Center is located at 1918 W. 5th St. in Washington. To make a reservation, call the church at 252-946-6109.