It was a grey and rainy day, but it seemed to be the perfect evening to sit down to a warm bowl of soup.
And luckily for the London community, there was a place for everyone at the dinner table inside St. Patrick’s Church last Wednesday night.
It marked the first community dinner sponsored by Madison Senior Living Community. The local assisted living facility is planning to make the dinner a regular event.
Residence manager Melissa Watson said her staff was looking for a way to further community outreach. She challenged Patti Blazer, the organization’s community service coordinator, to visit five locations in the area and find a way to make a difference.
After a visit with the Catholic Church, Blazer found their shared mission: a warm meal. Madison Senior Living provides the food, manpower and supplies and the church provides the location.
Statistics show that one in seven Americans struggle to get enough to eat. That’s about 49 million people. About 20 million children receive food or reduced-price lunches at school.
Watson, who has been with the organization for three months, and Blazer made a big pot of chili in preparation of the first dinner, and with the help of kitchen coordinator Jeremy Douglas, added cornbread and chocolate cake to the menu.
About 60 guests enjoyed dinner together.
Watson said the goal is to work with the other agencies in the area providing food to fill out times of the week when a warm dinner is needed. St. Paul AME Church hosts a Welcome Table every Thursday. Those in need also receive food from The H.E.L.P. House, from which Blazer said she drew her inspiration.
This isn’t Madison Senior Living’s only outreach project. The organization delivered pumpkin rolls to 90 people last week and provided 1,000 meals to community members last month. These individuals are not necessarily patients. Leaders hear about who is in need by word of mouth.
“One lady gave us the names of five people who needed a meal,” Watson said.
Don’t expect soup at every community supper though. The next October meal, scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 19, includes meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans. November’s dinner will be a Thanksgiving turkey supper with all the trimmings. Two dinners may be held in November and December.
“We’re willing to go up to once a week if that’s needed,” Watson said. “I know it may sound bad, but our goal would be to see a packed house.”
Come on in. Soup’s on.
Andrea Chaffin can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.