2017-08-09 / Opinion

Welcoming meals boost sense of community

To the Editor,

This is a letter of thanks and encouragement for the Community Meals program sponsored by the Black River Good Neighbor Services. Krey Kellington, Administrator of Food Programs, initiated the idea of free-to-all community meals to the BRGNS board with the intention of both providing a free nutritious meal and building community spirit. The board’s response was positive and strong.

The Ludlow Baptist Church initiated the meals in December 2016 with a grand dinner of roast turkey and all the trimmings. The United Church of Ludlow followed in March 2017 with a robust beef stew dinner. The highlight of that event was the presence of a dozen residents of the Gill Terrace Apartments. Annunciation Roman Catholic Church followed in June with a hearty spaghetti dinner. Deserts at each meal were scrumptious.

My wife and I attended all three meals, each drawing more than 65 persons. The tone is uplifting. At one of these, I engaged in conversation for 40 minutes with a gentleman I had never met before. These are welcoming, supportive occasions and do boost a sense of community.

Here is how it works: An organization agrees to sponsor a free-to-all meal. All they provide is the labor to prepare, serve and clean up. BRGNS provides the food, supplies and publicity. Krey works closely with the organization in planning and organizing. If an organization lacks a kitchen and dining facility, she will work to arrange use of a setting that does. All meals so far have been dinners, but they can also be lunches or breakfasts and any day or night of the week.

So far, all meals have been in Ludlow. However, BRGNS’s service area also includes Cavendish, Mount Holly and Plymouth. Citizens of all these towns are welcome at meals, and BRGNS encourages organizations in towns that have not yet sponsored a meal to do so.

Please consider having your organization sponsor a free-to-all Community Meal. Contact Krey Kellington at (802) 228-3663 with questions, and you will receive firm support in joining this growing community building tradition.

Bob Kottkamp


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