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YMCA to launch community kitchen next month

Alison Lair checks the fridge at the Cumberland YMCA in Amherst. The facility will be starting a Community Kitchen program on Wednesdays, starting on Jan. 10, 2018.
Alison Lair checks the fridge at the Cumberland YMCA in Amherst. The facility will be starting a Community Kitchen program on Wednesdays, starting on Jan. 10, 2018. - Andrew Wagstaff

Hot meals offered every Wednesday, starting Jan. 10

AMHERST, N.S. – Starting next month, local residents in need will have one more place to stop for a hot meal.

Every Wednesday, beginning on Jan. 10, 2018, the Cumberland YMCA will be offering a Community Kitchen program, a drop-in not just for those looking for a meal, but also those wishing to pick up some cooking skills.

“Instead of making this a program solely for low-income people or homeless people, we thought it would be nice to involve the whole of the community,” said Alison Lair, community support coordinator.

“A lot of people who are homeless or low-income don’t have a particularly big sense of community around them, so we thought it would be nice to involve everybody instead of just limiting to one group of people,” she added.

Community members are invited to join in preparing and cooking for themselves and others to enjoy. The meals will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday.

Lair has already been in discussions with the local food bank and Maggie’s Place, as well as a couple of larger businesses about making use of any surplus food for the program.

With local churches already providing hot meals on Tuesdays, and Thursdays, she is hopeful that the Community Kitchen will make a nice addition to the week.

“It would be wonderful if it could be done five days a week, because food isn’t cheap,” she said. “Our hope is, depending on how this program goes, that maybe it will expand throughout other communities in the county. It can start here and hopefully go out and go bigger.”

Lair has sent flyers to different organizations and committees, trying to get the word out about the program. Response so far has been positive.

And the need is there.

“There is a lot of poverty in the county, and a lot of people sleeping in cars or they are ‘hidden homeless,’ couch surfing or one paycheck away from being out on the street,” she said. “People are living paycheck to paycheck, and at least this is a way to provide one meal.”

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