Top News

100 Meals community initiative in Yarmouth warming bellies and hearts for 100 days

NSCC social services program student Andre Michel and HOPE board member Shirley Deveau work at preparing lunch at HOPE for guests on Jan. 12 as part of the 100 Meals initiative happening in Yarmouth over the winter months. CARLA ALLEN
NSCC social services program student Andre Michel and HOPE board member Shirley Deveau work at preparing lunch at HOPE for guests on Jan. 12 as part of the 100 Meals initiative happening in Yarmouth over the winter months. CARLA ALLEN - Carla Allen

YARMOUTH, N.S. – When Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood was reading the pages of this newspaper one particular week, she took special notice of the community listings outlining different organizations that were holding meals.

That particular week she had received two or three calls from people saying that when winter hits, they and others have to go into a different mode.

“People were saying, ‘I have to choose between heat and food,’ or ‘I can’t buy my medication this month because I don’t have enough money to cover everything,’” she says.

Mayor Mood says it makes a person almost feel helpless to hear those comments.

But upon quickly giving it more thought, she knew that it isn’t a situation of being helpless, but rather one of providing help.

And not just from one person, but from a community.

“So I called the mayor’s task force team together and asked is it feasible – I knew the answer would be yes – I said, can we do 100 meals in a row for the coldest days of winter? They said yes and the entire team stepped up, including NSCC students with doing healthy meal plans.”

And the number of people stepping up has been growing and growing.

The result is an initiative called 100 Meals, which the mayor provided an update on at council’s January monthly meeting.

 

HOPE team member Nancy Hansen ladles potatoes onto a plate for the Jan. 12 lunch at the facility. Guests had a choice of potatoes with ham and vegetable or chicken casserole. CARLA ALLEN
HOPE team member Nancy Hansen ladles potatoes onto a plate for the Jan. 12 lunch at the facility. Guests had a choice of potatoes with ham and vegetable or chicken casserole. CARLA ALLEN

 

“Basically what we have right now is a calendar. You can go to the town website (and download the schedule), you can go to Facebook,” she says, noting the schedule has also been posted in seniors’ homes.

“Every day there is one full meal provided to the community, it’s free of charge,” says the mayor. “It’s about covering the needs first and foremost, but it’s also about making sure that the people who would never ask for anything, that are in need, that they feel comfortable in that environment.”

And the goal is to make them feel comfortable, she says, because the meals are for everyone and have truly become community gatherings.

“There’s everyone from teachers to doctors and everybody in between,” says Mood, who says she and many councillors have also been attending the meals.

“It’s absolutely a community meal. I have watched people make friendships. People bring their entire families and the kids are dancing to the live music,” she says. “It’s just a really cool place to be.”

The schedule does vary a bit from week to week on weekends, but there are some constants during the week. The HOPE Centre, for instance, offers an 11:30 and 12:30 lunch sitting every Monday and Friday.

Every Tuesday the Knights of Columbus provides lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Holy Trinity Church serves a breakfast every Wednesday morning from 8:30-10 a.m. Temple Baptist and Yarmouth Wesleyan are sharing Thursdays and offer lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Check the calendar to see who’s turn it is each week.)

On weekends there are breakfasts at the Knights of Columbus and YMCA, lunches at Holy Trinity, suppers at Beacon Hall. Even town council and the mayor are preparing meals at Beacon Hall and the Lions Club some weeks.

Again, check the calendar to see where the meal is being prepared and served each day.

“This is for absolutely everybody in the community, bring your family out. It’s something we can all enjoy together,” Mayor Mood says, noting it’s not just in the kitchen and halls where this initiative is being supported.

“It takes funds to do any of this and within two weeks . . . we had $12,000 to put this on,” she says. “Individuals, organizations and businesses are sponsoring this just as quickly as they can and also stepping up to donate their time.”

 

100 Meals January calendar.
100 Meals January calendar.

 

 

100 Meals February calendar
100 Meals February calendar

 

 

100 Meals February calendar.
100 Meals February calendar.

 

Recent Stories