Meals Made with Love–Opportunity House

Bernice makes homecooked meals for clients at Opportunity House

Bernice shares her love of cooking by providing meals for Opportunity House.

Making home-cooked meals is both her joy and her ministry. For Bernice Holmes Hopkins it started with Frances Powers, a fellow member at New Hope Baptist Church in Reading, PA asked her to help prepare a meal for Opportunity House. Mother Powers and other members of New Hope Baptist Church had been cooking for Opportunity House since the late 1990s.

When Bernice moved to the Reading area and joined New Hope Baptist and got involved with the others who cooked meals for Opportunity House.  When I started cooking with the group, we would prepare the meals at Opportunity House,” noted Francis. During the pandemic, they cooked at home and delivered it to Opportunity House.  Because many of the cooks were older and had health concerns, they chose not to serve the food they prepared.

Ministering To Others with Meals

Today, Bernice cooks the meals with church members providing the ingredients. “I love to cook. It’s my gift.” She enjoys creating full-course meals like she did for her family.   Some of her favorite meals include soups, fried chicken, meatloaf, green beans, turkey, filling, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, cabbage and corn. “I love helping people. It makes me feel good.”

Cooking is part of the family’s DNA. If needed, Bernice solicits help from two of her sons who are chefs at local restaurants.“They are always willing to help if I ask them,” she added.

Bernice’s cooking ministry comes from her heart. “Life is hard. I want to encourage others like people encouraged me when times were tough,” noted Bernice. As a single mother to 5 boys, Bernice worked as a data processor and enrolled in a work-study program.  After completing her early childhood education degree, Bernice became an assistant teacher for 30 years at Reading Area Community College.  She retired in 2010.  “It was a great job. I enjoyed being with the children,” she added.

Opportunity House is grateful for the cooking ministry of the members of New Hope Baptist Church. The meals they provide are delicious, nutritious, and filled with love.

We Welcome Your Groups to Cook and Serve 

Are you interested in serving a meal at Opportunity House?  Please contact Frank Grill at  Choose breakfast, lunch, or dinner 7 days a week. Here are a few tips to make it easy to volunteer as a cooking group:

  • Pick the date(s) that work for your group.
  • Choose to cook and serve on-site at Opportunity House or cook and deliver it–we’ll serve it for you.
  • Yes, we welcome and encourage keeping it easy. Consider side dishes from the deli, or catered meals like pizza, sandwiches, and tacos.
  • Both weekend and weekday meals are needed.
  • Saturday and Sunday cooked breakfasts are a treat for our clients.



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