By Stefanie Donahue
Community Meals returned for another year on Wednesday, September 7 at the Blaine Senior Center.
Sponsored by the Blaine Community Assistance Program (CAP), the weekly program offers the public a chance to sit down for a warm meal from 5 to 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday.
Meals are free of cost, although donations are accepted.
The program began in 2011 at the Peace Arch City Café, formerly the Blackberry House Café, on H Street. Early planners called it the “community soup kitchen” and about a dozen or so people showed up to each meal.
“We knew there was a greater need,” said Laura Vogee, CAP board member.
In 2012, when the program came under the oversight of CAP and began operating out of the Blaine Senior Center, participation went up to about 60 to 80 people per meal, she said.
Individuals with financial need, an interest in connecting with the community or simply looking for some help cooking up dinner are encouraged to stop by.
“[The meals are] an opportunity for a family to eat together,” Vogee said. “We’re meeting a broad range of needs.”
Each meal is sponsored and facilitated solely by volunteers. This year, nine teams are signed up to host meals on a rotating basis.
Last year, the meals program served 2,838 meals, including 861 meals for children and 1,977 for adults. Nearly 250 volunteers provided about 2,000 hours of service.
Since the organization plans to serve 35 times this year, they’d like to see a few more volunteer groups join in, Vogee said.
On-call volunteers operating on an individual basis, or groups of about 10-12 to host a meal are invited to participate. A liaison from CAP will be on scene to address volunteer needs.
Interested parties can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A weekly menu can be found on the CAP website, blainecap.org.