Binghamton - Faith is a biweekly column looking at the religious community in the Southern Tier.

“When I grew up here everybody owned their own house, everybody knew their neighbors. I couldn’t do anything wrong without anyone telling about me,” said Barb Knighton.

Knighton was raised on Holland Street, right behind St. Michael’s Greek Catholic Church. She’s a third generation member of the parish.

But times, and the First Ward have changed. Noting that the demographics and economic status are different, Knighton came up with an idea. Just over a year ago, she started a community meal at St. Mike’s Recreation center.

“The hunger in the neighborhood is unbelievable,” she said,” No one should go hungry in this country."

Every Monday night, as many as 200 people gather at 5:45 p.m. for a prayer by the pastor, Fr. Jim Dutko. Then they have a three-course meal. Each receives tickets to be served soup and salad, an entrée and then desert.

“I love to feed people. Always have. I think it came from growing up in a household where I was the only girl,” Knighton said.

Knighton is backed by a group of volunteers that includes 20 or more people each week, mostly parishioners. But sometimes, when the school year gets going, students from SUNY Broome or Binghamton University also help out.

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