Posted on August 23rd.
Are you looking for a great community gathering that helps address food insecurity issues here in Somerville? Come to the table community meals (C2TT) and enjoy a tasty and local meal in a pleasant and friendly atmosphere! Each meal is creative, and scratch cooking that speaks to the diverse cultures and flavors of Somerville.
Come To The Table Community Meals
The Somerville Food Security Coalition (SFSC), in partnership with other local based organizations, not only nourish the community each 4th Wednesday of the month, but also strive to provide delicious food as if you were out for dinner. “They truly care about putting a good meal on the table for the community” said Kristin Cunningham, a volunteer who works with Somerville youth on nutrition education. The care that goes into cooking the community meal is extraordinary. Not only do farms donate their fruits and vegetables, but interns and volunteers make the effort to pick up the produce from the farms.
Surplus food from Harvard Dining is collected and transported by Food for Free; a food rescue and delivery organization based in Cambridge. Some days SFSC will receive premade dishes like chilis, soups, stirfrys, or pastas. Others days can bring more simply prepared components like plain pasta, grilled chicken, cubed tofu, beans, and vegetables. “We don’t always know what will arrive in the delivery, so every dinner is a unique situation where we’re serving unique dishes” says Erica Santi –Hernandez, program coordinator from Shape up Somerville and one of the main chefs at SFSC since October.
“I appreciate being able to help get great and healthy foods to our diners” said Erica who along with Justin, are responsible for creating delicious meals from rescued food in under two hours. In addition to kitchen duties, this dynamic duo is fortunate enough to have a team of volunteers to help set up tables, decorate the room, organize fun kid and family activities, and facilitate special food experiences for patrons. What a crew!
Healthy Food & Food Insecurity
All are welcome to come to the meals at no cost, although the meals are focused to support those families who have food insecurities at home. The dinners are healthy and varied, and each dinner offers the opportunity to talk about nutrition and “healthy food” in a friendly and warm environment. “By having the community meal, we are nourishing our neighbors with high quality, locally sourced, and tasty food. We’re helping to make a dent in food insecurity” explained Kristin “none of the information I teaches useful to the family if the resources to obtain food are not there” she added.
Arts, Food & Literacy Resources
Maura Mendoza helped the community meals during Spring 2016 as part of her M.Ed. in Community Arts program at Lesley University. “ During my internship we focused our outreach efforts to English as a Second Language and English Language Learning families (ESL/ELL families)” said Mendoza. Already working at the Capuano Early Childhood Center, the connection with many ESL/ELL families with community meals was a perfect combination.
The community meals connected with Teen Empowerment Band, to provide music and entertainment at meals. “The C2TT had visual arts, music, and food literacy resources for parents to enjoy and learn at every meal” added Maura, who followed up after each meal with Capuano families who participated.“Overall parents expressed how welcomed they felt and how good the food was.” she said.
Support the cause!
In addition to enjoying a good meal, you can show your support for hunger relief efforts. Come to C2TT this Wednesday to learn more about food insecurity in Somerville and to find ways to get involved!
The community meals are sponsored by Connexion, Somerville Food Security Coalition, Food for Free, Somerville Community Health Agenda/CHA and other community partners. Volunteers and donations are always welcome, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org in case you want to participate.