LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Washington Street Diner is the only breakfast spot in downtown Athens.
A HIDDEN GEM
Three years ago, a Christian ministry took over and they're using it to serve more than just a plate of food.
A new customer Vona May and her mother traveled from Seattle, Washington to visit family.
"When we came in we were stuck behind the train, and we just so happened to notice a diner," she said.
Friendship United Methodist Church bought the diner as an extension to their ministry to love God and His people beyond the pulpit.
"We had no clue when we came in the door, " said Jackie Satterfield. He and his wife stumbled upon the ministry for the first time too on Wednesday. They walked in for a cup of coffee.
DISCOVERING ITS SECRET
The church is using the diner to end generational poverty.
Satterfield said, "When we came in, then we discovered the hidden secret behind this place."
Friendship Church has permanent staff to train up temporary staff who may have had a troubled past or no work experience, to then branch out and work in the food service industry.
"As Christ said, we should love each other as we love ourselves," said Satterfield.
Out of respect and confidentiality, WHNT did not speak with staff who are in the program to get a fresh start in life.
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE COMMUNITY
Friendship Church pastor Steve Dorning said the "mentality is to offer an opportunity. It's up to the people to be able to seize the opportunity. Some people have, some people haven't."
Temporary wait staff are learning to cook, bus tables and learn soft skills like customer service. Dorning said the church is showing God's love through the act of service.
"I think that's--actually--really great. I think the world needs a little more light in the world," said May.
Washington Street Diner isn't just asking for more customers. They're also in need of your prayers, to keep the ministry going and bellies full.
There's another blessing, Friendship United Methodist Church runs a free program for hungry children. It's called the Full Tummy Project where it provides free bagged lunches to kids on free or reduced lunch programs at school for them on the weekends.