The Community Meal Program is more than providing healthy meals to those who battle hunger. The restaurant atmosphere encourages fellowship and a sense of belonging. Those who feel marginalized are made welcome, treated with respect and are valued as individuals. A hot meal offers more than sustenance; it gives the homeless a respite from the streets; a senior relief from social isolation; and a family, the gift of sitting down together at a table to eat- a daily event in which many of us take for granted. Every time a meal is served it is an accumulation of effort brought forth by staff, volunteers, and donors. Community in the truest sense of the word exists daily at 19 Nicol Street.

Rising operational costs and ever increasing food prices are challenging but, the kitchen staff and volunteers are committed to providing nutritious hot meals. Seniors, the homeless, the working poor, those with disabilities and others on limited incomes rely on the program to meet their nutritional needs. In the past year, the faces of those accessing the program are younger. There are more families with children using the program as the costs of basic necessities continue to rise.

Volunteers are needed more than ever! They are essential in keeping the kitchen running efficiently as staffing and resources are limited. School groups volunteer and learn more about the needs in their community. Each week, caring individuals join the kitchen staff in the preparation and serving of meals. There are a number of volunteer duties that are available for those who are interested in getting involved with the Community Meal Program. Volunteers also educate the public about the program and encourage others to give support either by volunteering or donations.

The Community Meal Program exists because of the generosity of our donors. Some funding for the program comes from the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign and the thrift stores, but the bulk of the money comes from donations within the community at large. We are grateful for the daily pick-ups at stores, cash and food donations. Baked goods are given out daily to our clients while supplies last. Nothing is wasted; prudence prevails!

Local businesses, service clubs and other organizations have sponsored the cost of a meal. Food donations are gratefully accepted. Cash donations allow for the purchase of meat and other products that are not always readily available through donations. The kitchen is adept at being creative in making nutritious tasty meals on a very limited budget along with donated goods on hand to feed the many who pass through our doors.