Because of you, people from all walks of life are sitting down together over a meal every month in Keizer. The Keizer Community Meal feeds the community with food and social connection.
“This is the first hot meal that I’ve had in three days,” Carol said after she finished her hamburger at a recent meal. “I’m living in my car and I don’t have a way to cook for myself.”
Volunteers from Lakepoint Community Church serve dinner at the Keizer Community Meal, which brings people together over a meal on the last Wednesday of every month.
Carol is just one of the people who have come to St. Edwards Catholic Church on the last Wednesday of the month for the community meal. Though the meals have only been happening since January, they have drawn several hundred people.
The idea for the community meal in Keizer came from Eileen Zielinski, who serves on the board of Marion-Polk Food Share. She was inspired while visiting a community meal served at First Christian Church in Silverton.
Betty Thomas enjoys dinner at the Keizer Community Meal.
Eileen turned to the community in Keizer to make the meal a reality in their town.
“It’s a joint effort that it happened,” said Eileen. “Everybody has pitched in and worked together. That’s what the meaning of community is.”
The meal is organized by volunteer groups from Keizer Christian Church, Lakepoint Community Church, Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Keizer, St. Edward Catholic Church and the Men’s and Women’s Group of the Chamber of Keizer. St. Edward provides the kitchen and dining room to prepare and serve the food. Each organizing group has responsibility for making and serving the meal each month. The Food Share provides some of the food that is served.
Tom Fox, pastor of Lakepoint Community Church, and his congregation grilled hamburgers in May.
“It’s part of the Lakepoint DNA to serve the community. We wanted to partner with other organizations to do something good for the community,” said Tom. “It’s great to see everyone come together to share a meal. Barriers like socio-economic status go away when people sit down together.”
Volunteers from Lakepoint Community Church, Brian Lee and Danny Fox, grill hamburgers at Keizer Community Meal
“The community meal is not just for ‘the hungry’ or ‘the poor’,” said Rick Gaupo. “It’s for everybody to come and enjoy. On any given month you might have a business leader, a single mother and her children and a recent widow having a meal together. Some people may be hungry for the food, but others are fed by the social connection. ”
“I gauge the success of the meal by the smiles that I see,” said Eileen. “Bringing everybody together as a community is the most important thing.”
You are invited to the next Keizer Community Meal. Meals are served the fourth Wednesday of the month from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at St. Edwards Catholic Church.