Tuesday, 03 April 2012 15:39

Loose change supper aims to help provide a healthy meal for pennies

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By Jessi Gowan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A group of volunteers at First United Church have dedicated the fourth Wednesday of the month to provide a ‘Loose Change Supper’ for people in the southwest.

This hardworking team offers a delicious, healthy meal at a low cost — whatever patrons are able to pay.

“Part of our belief is that we feel we have an open table, that we want to welcome anyone to join us,” explained Adele Heise, a member of the volunteer planning group who helps organize the event. “We believe that no one should go hungry. It’s important for us to feed as we’ve been fed, to love as we’ve been loved. It’s more a welcome dinner, or a friendship dinner. It’s open to anyone.”

Heise works with four other dedicated church members to plan the monthly dinner.

After the planning is complete, the team calls on a number of other volunteers who come to help out with the more labourious tasks of preparing the food, setting up the dinner, and cleaning up after the event is finished.

“Not everyone wants to do it every time,” she admitted. “It’s not a fundraiser for us, we just hope that the donations we receive will cover the cost of the meal. If they don’t, we cover it. It’s purely a goodwill gesture, for the people in our church and for the rest of the community, as well.”

Attendance varies between approximately 40 to 60 people at each dinner, but any leftover food is donated to another agency in the community that provides meals to their clients. Heise hopes the event will become more popular as they are able to offer them on a more regular basis.

“We did some last year, but kind of took a break,” noted Heise. “We needed to put together a group who would look after the co-ordination of the dinners on a continuous basis, and now we plan to continue. We want this to identified with our church and counted on.”

The group even plans meals that cater to various dietary restrictions. Heise noted each dinner features at least one dish that has no meat in it, offering a vegetarian alternative, and one dish that is also gluten-free. The dishes are labelled so people are able to identify them easily.

“We want to offer foods that are flavourful, good to eat, and prepared with our love,” Heise said. “We welcome feedback and ideas for future meals, and we will share our recipes when people are interested.”

While these dinners are offered to the community as a whole and not just geared to one specific group, Heise noted they are held at the end of the month for a reason.

“Later in the month can be a tough time for some people, and they may be looking for some options,” she explained. “I’ve worked in areas where I know people who are struggling, and I’m aware of people who might need this service in particular. But this isn’t just for them — it’s a community thing.”

Upcoming dinners will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the First United Church in Swift Current on April 25, May 23, and June 27.

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