Mike and Amy Spies don’t mind singing for somebody’s supper.

And getting other people involved in a jubilant chorus.

Again this year, First Lutheran Church in Fremont will be site of Cocoa & Carols — a fundraiser that benefits a program called The Banquet.

The public is invited to the holiday event on Dec. 20. Cocoa will be served at 6 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary of the church at 3200 E. Military Ave., Fremont.

Admission is free. A freewill offering will be accepted for The Banquet, which provides a free meal to people in the community on Thursday nights.

“Every Thursday, there’s a group of dedicated people who volunteer and put together this wonderful meal and feed people,” Mike Spies said.

Folks leave with full stomachs. Children who might not have a coat when they walk in — leave with one.

“That’s what this is about,” Mike Spies said. “All we’re doing is singing for their supper.”

Mike Spies is the show’s producer and master of ceremonies. Amy Spies is musical director.

This marks the fifth year for what the Spies describe as a musical variety show.

“We’ve got a wonderful show planned for this year,” Mike Spies said. “We put together a show of some of the most talented people we know. Fremont has a wealth of talent.”

Audiences will hear and see performances by The Pathfinder Chorus, the church’s adult choir, The Hands of Faith Puppets and a quartet called FROGS (Four Really Old Guys).

“We will have a lot of other talented individuals, not only from First Lutheran Church, but from the Midland (University’s) arts department,” he said.

A new group of “Carols” will participate as well. When the event began, a group of eighth grade girls became backup singers.

During the very first show, Mike Spies referred to the girls as “The Carols.”

Those girls grew up and have gone to college.

A couple of this year’s “Carols” are high school seniors so this will be their last year. Other “Carols” are new.

Music for the program begins on a light note.

“We start out fun and relaxed and transition to: Let’s remember the real reason we’re celebrating,” Amy Spies said.

“There’s some really beautiful pieces,” Mike Spies said.

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Amy Spies said producing Cocoa & Carols is a way they can help The Banquet, which takes place throughout the year. Volunteers shop for the food for The Banquet, cook, serve and clean up afterward.

Dinner guests are served a meal with a main dish, vegetable, dessert and oftentimes a roll, sometimes salad or fruit.

“In the summertime, they get the grill going,” Mike Spies said.

In the winter, The Banquet also sponsors “Joseph’s Closet” — a couple of racks with coats, gloves and hats. People can take what they need when they come on Thursdays.

The Spies appreciate work done by The Banquet’s volunteers.

“You the people who come in and the passion of the volunteers, who put this together,” Mike Spies said. “It makes you want to help somehow.”

After attending another musical fundraising event, Spies also noted that many people don’t carry cash these days. But he hopes Cocoa & Carols guests, who can afford to donate, will have a couple of dollars on hand to contribute to The Banquet.

“These volunteers can do a lot with a few dollars,” he said.

“And donations are a huge part of how The Banquet can sustain that ministry,” Amy Spies said.

Mike Spies also believes attendees will benefit from Cocoa & Carols, saying they find joy and leave with glad hearts. He noted something else:

“In this time of communicating via text and social media, people don’t get out any more like we did when we were kids to go to events where you have to socialize with other people face to face and go to live performances,” he said. “We want to keep that alive.”

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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