Article 25

Someone Wants to Meet You at Cornerstone

In Uncategorized on 08/13/2012 at 1:27 pm


Food and religion at 10th & Madison

By Larry Gross


When I first walked into the Cornerstone Project at 10th and Madison in Covington, Ky., one Saturday morning, a person handed me a flyer. I read at the bottom, “Jesus wants to meet you there.” I’m assuming “there” means Cornerstone, but that’s all I had time to read. I’d been told free food was being distributed. Cornerstone does this the last Saturday of every month.

You don’t get to pick what kind of food you want. A graying, older man handed me two double-sacked plastic bags. One was full of boxed goods, and the other full of canned goods. The canned goods were damn heavy. I thought I was going to break my back carrying them to my apartment.

I found out about this food giveaway from an upstairs neighbor. He and his wife aren’t working, don’t seem to want to and don’t receive food stamps. They are, however, hungry. He knocked on my door thinking I was, too.

I walked to the Cornerstone Project mostly out of curiosity. Having lived in Covington for almost a year, I’ve walked by it several times, not knowing exactly what it was. The Madison Avenue storefront looks like a makeshift church, with a wooden cross in the front window. Inside are tables and chairs all around.

Sometimes when I walk by, people are outside standing around, smoking cigarettes. Those who aren’t smoking cigarettes are just as friendly as those who are ­ they ask if they can have one of my smokes. I usually say yes. I don’t want to say no with that wooden cross staring at me.

When I got home with those two bags, I quickly opened them. Inside one bag were a packet of instant mashed potatoes, a box of macaroni and cheese, a packet of Ramen Noodle Soup (chicken flavored) and two large plastic bags of whole grain rotini, made of 100 percent whole durum wheat flour.

Most of the food was brands I’d never heard of: two cans of Prima Qualita meatless spaghetti sauce, two cans of Beckmans cut green beans, a can of their cream corn, a can of Sweet Harvest mandarin oranges, a can of Campbell’s pork & beans (I think I’ve heard of the Campbell’s brand before) and a large plastic container of Infuse Polar Rush, an electrolyte thirst quencher.

The thirst quencher doesn’t taste very good but it’s still in my refrigerator. The other night I fixed some of that whole grain rotini with the meatless spaghetti sauce. While preparing it, I kept thinking about Cornerstone and the old saying, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” While it was nice of them to give me the food, I reminded myself that I hadn’t exactly begged for any of it, including the rotini, which ended up being tasteless. Then, thinking about the Bible as I was eating it, I concluded that throwing away food is probably a sin. I felt guilty and ungrateful as I threw the rotini in the garbage can.

The flyer I received says the Cornerstone Project is a “community transformation ministry” of the Avenue Community Church. It has worship services, prayer services, Bible study and Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. A craft party the third Saturday of every month is only for women.

In case people are still hungry after the food giveaway, Cornerstone offers a community dinner every Thursday evening and the first Tuesday of every month.

From 8 a.m.-noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Cornerstone has “Coffee Talk.” I think this is when I’ve noticed people smoking outside. I guess they’re there for the coffee and the talk. I’m thinking that, in the winter, they’re also there for the heat.

I know some of the people who frequent Cornerstone Project are homeless. I’ve encountered a lot of them on the street, asking for money or cigarettes or both. The people who run Cornerstone seem to do their best to make all visitors feel welcome.

Cornerstone goes out of its way to help anybody and everybody. During those hot, humid days in July, when temperatures were in the upper 90s or over 100 degrees, Cornerstone had a water dispenser outside, offering free water to anyone who wanted it. How often do you see that kind of caring in downtown Cincinnati? Nobody had to listen to a sermon in order to wet his whistle.

I didn’t go to Cornerstone the last Saturday in July to get more food. A lot of people need that more than I do. I should return that big, unopened plastic bag of whole grain rotini. Some people would appreciate it.

As a non-believer, I don’t see myself going to worship services or attending Bible study. I don’t fit in with religion. But I wish there were more groups doing what Cornerstone is doing. Their heart is in the right place.

For more information on the Cornerstone Project, call 859-344-6300 or visit


  1. […] Project, the building itself, is located at 10th & Madison over here in Covington. I’ve written about the project and the people who run it a few times. It’s odd. This is a religious group and I’m […]

  2. Wow! What a blessing to hear about your experiences! We are grateful to you for writing the story (and for the feedback). Our desire is to share God’s love with the community…so glad to hear you felt welcome. Please come back anytime – check our facebook page for updated info (! BTW – Our grocery giveaway is the 4th Saturday (not the last Saturday). Next one is August 25th…and guess what? Regular pasta this time…not whole grain! (Smile) Hope to see you then!

  3. […] To read “Someone Wants to Meet You at Cornerstone,” click here. […]

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