At its core, Kitimat’s Community Supper Club believes that eating is a right, not a privilege.
And so it began that a plucky group of Kitimatians now serve suppers at the Kitimat Baptist Church once a week on Monday, 5 to 7 p.m..
And the response to their work has been overwhelming, the group says.
The group is headed by President Sherry Brady, with Laurette Combs Howard as vice president, Rob Brady as treasurer, Michelle Popp as secretary and Sandra Hunter as Chair.
“With the recent growth in population and economic changes the need has been more than apparent,” the club said in an e-mail to the Sentinel. “We know of families that have left everything behind in hopes of being hired on here at the Kitimat Modernization Project and have to wait for employment. We know that the people on a fixed income who struggle to pay their bills each month need us. We aren’t here to just serve the needs we see. We are also reaching out to the hidden needs.”
The group says their aim is to make sure everyone’s basic food needs are met.
But it’s not a charity merely seeking to feed low income and at-risk people, but people of any stature and income.
“We are here to serve the young, old, rich or poor. We will not turn anyone away at our door.”
The inspiration for the group came from Sherry Brady, who found herself frequently sharing surplus food with people who needed it.
“I was making a surplus of food at home. I found myself bringing my leftovers to people that I knew needed it. I found myself eventually making more at dinner time because I knew more people, and then more. I needed a way to reach everyone that I knew about and those that I didn’t know about. I’m a mother, I’m a feeder. I can’t stand the sound of a growling tummy,” she said.
People in the group come from a diverse background, from social work to corrections, to business management and restaurant experience.
But what’s really keeping the group going is not what they bring to the table but what the community at large does.
“We’ve been going at this head on. We are starting this from the ground up. We have nothing but the generosity of the community funding us right now. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
What they really need are just monthly donations, and people to come out and eat on Mondays.
They currently make enough for 100 people each night they’re open.
Until this month the group has been in a trial mode and they’ll be reviewing how it’s been going this month to see what changes they might need to implement.
The support, though, has been remarkable.
“Many people and businesses came to us to see how they could help, or to offer us items, money and food. We are in awe that Food Share was so willing to help us out, and we continue to reach to other organizations. There is a lot to do and we have not been able to make it to everyone, or arrange meetings yet. We really do appreciate everyone’s patience with us because we are starting from scratch.”
The group heavily emphasizes the open aspect of their dinners and said its healthy to have the cross-section of people attend.
“What if someone comes who is a social recluse and this is the only interaction they get? What if an employer is attending and someone comes that recently lost their job? What if an addict is coming and they happen to be inspired by someone who is recovered, single parents, grieving families. These are all people circumstances that are kept quiet and unseen, which is why we will not turn anyone away.”