After a few months off to reorganize, the Blaine Community Soup Kitchen is returning in September – after a fashion.
Rather than focusing on providing meals for those in financial need, the new Community Meals of Blaine (now a 501(c) (3) organization and part of the Community Assistance Program) aims to serve a broader base of the community.
The free meals will be served each Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Blaine Senior Center, which organizer Katie Potter calls “more centrally located” than the old location at the Blackberry House Café.
With the high school, middle school and Boys & Girls Club located nearby, Potter said busy parents shuttling kids from place to place can stop by for a nutritious, free meal alongside other members of the community.
“It’s a way for families to connect with each other and the community as a whole,” Potter said. The mission of the program is simple: meeting the physical, social and emotional needs of the community by providing weekly meals in a warm and caring environment.
“It’s not just about the food,” Potter said. “It’s a night out together for a busy family, or a way to connect with new friends and neighbors.”
The setup is basically the same. Volunteer groups take over the kitchen at the Blaine Senior Center, providing their own ingredients and labor, and prepare a meal before the doors open to the community at 5 p.m. The volunteers are also responsible for service and cleanup.
Organizers expect 50 to 100 patrons each week, a big jump from the dozen or so who showed up in the past.
The meals are still free, but donations will be accepted. Donations will be distributed to volunteer groups to offset the cost of ingredients.
The new program will begin September 5, with a group of friends leading off. Though the soup kitchen was mostly staffed by groups from area churches, the new program is seeing much broader interest.
“We’re really excited about that,” Potter said.