First Christian Church hosts Mustangs Meal for student-athletes


Student-athletes gather at First Christian Church for Mustangs Meal on April 3.

Nothing gets the attention of a student-athlete like the words “free” and “food” and First Christian Church is providing both of them. Knowing college athletes struggle to balance time and finances, the church found a practical way to help students out. On April 3, leaders of the church gathered together to welcome the athletes, for the final time this semester, with smiling faces and plates full of warm home-cooked food- a simple gesture that goes a long way.

In the fall of 2017, Mustang Meals began as a way to cut the cost of the football team’s pregame meal at the request of head football coach Bill Maskill and Assistant Director of Athletics Kyle Williams. The food, prepared by the Christian Men’s Fellowship Group, proved both cost efficient and helpful to the players before each home game. The meal’s success then drove First Christian Church to extend their helping hand to all sports teams on campus.

Jerry Johnson, Stewardship Chairman, aided in the orchestrating of the Mustang Meal. Being that majority of the student-athletes are away from home, Johnson said he believed it was important to provide a break from the college routine of drive-thru’s and cafeteria food.

“I would guess that about 75 percent of the Midwestern student-athletes are away from home,” Johnson said. “With us cooking chicken or steak on the grill and having salad and baked potatoes, it gives them an opportunity to get off campus and chill out.”

The Mustang Meal has proven to be a symbiotic relationship for both the university and the church. Due to close proximity of First Christian Church, Johnson said the church has found a certain uniqueness in its attempt to serve the students in this hands-on manner.

“It gives an identity to the church. All the churches that have a presence on campus are just trying to help the students get through the most traumatic four years of their lives,” Johnson said. “But for us, it’s just a way for a church across the street from a college to reach out and try to help them [student-athletes] out a little bit.”

The efforts of the church are both recognized and appreciated by the student-athletes. Kennedy Turner, mechanical engineering junior, said she not only enjoys the food but the fellowship as well.

“It [Mustang Meal] really brightens my day,” Turner said. “It’s really nice to not have to cook food. The food is also really good and it’s nice to have good company.”

Dmonta Harris, psychology junior, said knowing people outside the university care about him and his fellow student-athletes brings him joy.

“It made my day knowing that people in the community care about the MSU sports teams and that we have supporters out there,” Harris said.

Athlete Responses 

Sarah Stewart, chemistry senior | “I like hanging out with other athletes and my favorite part of the meal was the mashed potatoes!”

Zachary Rouseau, pre-med freshman | “The dinners at First Christian Church for athletes are great activities for all the athletes to come together as one, give thanks to the Lord, and for us to feel a part of the local community not to mention a free meal is a relief on our bank accounts. I really enjoyed the vibe of the environment. With all the studying and things that consume my life, I very seldom get any time away from everything, and this dinner is a phenomenal way to recuperate in a positive environment.”

Josh Wallace, business management junior | “I enjoy hanging out with my teammates and the other athletes. Its a good opportunity for us to get to get to know each other and eat a nice home cooked meal.”

Emma Bailey, undecided freshman |”It’s a lot of fun to come together and just have a nice meal. All the members of First Christian are super friendly and welcoming.”