YARMOUTH - A new program designed to co-ordinate the provision of one free meal each day for 100 days in the Yarmouth area launches on Sunday, Dec.17.
Mayor Pam Mood says she’s received many calls in the past from people who tell her they have to choose between heat and food during the cold months.
“What if, during the winter months, we could say everybody in this community has access to at least one meal a day?” she said.
“Just show up and enjoy the meal. It doesn’t fix everything, but it puts a dent in the worries of a lot of people.”
Working with service organizations that are already providing meals on a regular basis, the mayor’s task force and other volunteers are lining up other venues, donations of food and meal teams to fill in the gaps.
“We know that in our community our service organizations are tremendously generous, for example the Knights of Columbus does a Tuesday lunchtime meal, Temple Baptist, Anglican, Beacon, the Wesleyan Church, they all do meals here and there,” said Mayor Mood.
The 100 meals concept goes beyond feeding the hungry, however. Anyone can participate. Each meal is meant to create opportunities for friendships and a deeper sense of community.
Mayor Mood likens it to the breakfast program operating in some local schools.
“That program is open to everyone, which means it makes everyone comfortable attending,” she said.
In some locations – for example, the new HOPE Centre – the meal will be followed by an afternoon of games and/or music.
“It’s not just about ‘eat and run’, it’s about coming to enjoy a meal and staying around for a while to just enjoy each other’s company,” said Mood.More volunteers/organizations and businesses are still being sought to help provide venues, purchase groceries and join teams for cleanup, serving and cooking. Mood says she’s hoping for several hundred people to attend each meal. A calendar of venues will be posted on the Town of Yarmouth’s website.
How to help
Grocery gift cards or cash donations can be dropped off at town hall (400 Main St.) to the attention of 100 meals. Official tax receipts can be issued.
Sponsorship price is $500 for the daily meal but any amount helps.