Mobile Meals' good-luck tradition will feed hungry again


Good Luck Spartanburg Lunch
Good Luck Spartanburg Lunch

Herald-Journal Executive Editor Mike Smith, left, and Mobile Meals chef Tony Williams prepare meals at the Good Luck Spartanburg Lunch to benefit Mobile Meals of Spartanburg last Jan. 1.

Alex C. Hicks Jr./file
Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 7:36 p.m.

It's a tradition in the South to serve collard greens, black-eyed peas, pork and corn bread on New Year's Day.

Facts

Want to go?

What: Good Luck Spartanburg Lunch
When: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Jan. 1
Where: Mobile Meals (dine in or take out), 419 E. Main St., Spartanburg
Cost: $10 per plate (black-eyed peas, pork, collards and corn bread)
Info: Call 573-7684 or go to
www.mobile-meals.org/event-details.php?eid=13

Mobile Meals of Spartanburg will celebrate its third annual Good Luck Spartanburg Lunch by selling these “good luck” meals at its Main Street location Jan. 1. Food for the lunch will be provided by the Herald-Journal, the sponsors of the event. Jayne McQueen, founder, president and CEO of Mobile Meals, says the event is “a tremendous blessing to every life it touches.”

McQueen founded Mobile Meals 35 years ago with help from First Presbyterian Church and the Spartanburg County Planning Commission. They started with 25 meals and 15 volunteers; today they deliver hot meals, nursing services and fellowship to more than 1,800 elderly, frail and homebound residents in the Spartanburg area. As an independent nonprofit, Mobile Meals does not receive government funding and relies on contributions from businesses, churches, foundations and individuals to raise an annual budget of more than $2 million.

The third annual Good Luck Spartanburg lunch is a fundraiser to contribute toward that budget.

Mike Smith, the Herald-Journal's executive editor, and a group of editors came up with the idea a few years ago. One of the editors was having trouble and joked that it was because he hadn't had his traditional Jan. 1 meal. They decided then that providing that meal as a fundraiser for Mobile Meals would be enjoyable.

“We're glad to be able to help Mobile Meals serve our community,” Smith said. “They do great work to fill a genuine need. The Good Luck Spartanburg meal gives Spartanburg a fun and traditional way to celebrate the new year while helping a terrific community ministry.”

This traditional New Year's lunch consists of collard greens, which represent money; black-eyed peas for pennies and good luck, dating back to a legend from the Civil War; pork, which symbolizes progress; and corn bread, because it looks like gold. As McQueen puts it, “We want to wish luck to the whole of Spartanburg.”

Chef Tony Williams has been with Mobile Meals for years now and with Good Luck Spartanburg since the beginning. The lifelong Spartanburg resident learned about the organization through McQueen's son, with whom he worked previously at Abby's Grill in downtown Spartanburg.

There, Williams honed his craft, cooking what he calls “casual cuisine,” with his specialty being fried chicken, mashed potatoes and especially buffalo ribs.

“We covered the high end to the low end,” Williams said.

For Williams, his love of cooking comes from his mother and grandmother.

“I was always the bowl licker,” he said with a laugh, “and we always had farm-raised, fresh product.”

Today, he puts heart, love and local flavor into his meals. With the good-luck meal, he brings a unique flavor by cooking the collard greens with apples, apple juice and balsamic vinaigrette. As for the meaning behind the food, he says the home-cooked, down-home meal reminds him of family and togetherness.

“I don't make resolutions,” he said. “I enjoy life, God, and my relationship with my wife.”

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