MOUNTAIN – Dinner has been ‘on the house’ for almost a year and organizers agree it’s a definite success.
House of Lazarus’ community-building initiative, Dinner on the House, began May 18, 2017 with roughly 30 diners attending the organization’s first-ever free community meal. Now, almost a year later, the weekly attendance average is 76.
In celebration of the milestone, HOL’s board of directors has volunteered to serve dinner Thursday, May 17.
In addition, HOL’s chefs are preparing a special roast beef dinner, complete with roasted potatoes, carrots, salad, and, to top it off, a celebratory anniversary cake.
Open to everyone, Dinner on the House happens every Thursday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church on Simms Street in Mountain, just a few doors down from HOL.
The idea, aside from skipping the nightly dinner preparation and clean-up, is to socialize with family, friends, and neighbours over a home-cooked meal. “It’s one night a week when you don’t have to worry about making dinner or cleaning up afterward,” HOL client services manager Kim Merkley said. “You drop in between 4 and 7 p.m. and we serve you. It’s as simple as that. No fuss, no muss.”
In the past year, Dinner on the House has served 3,044 meals to 795 different people.
The positive response from the community has shown itself in more ways than an increased number of diners each week.
Several individuals, families, groups, organizations, and businesses have come forward to donate money, food, or time to the weekly event.
Most weeks, it is HOL’s chefs who prepare the meals and serve it alongside a regular set of dedicated and generous volunteers. However, more and more, individuals and groups are stepping up to fund and/or serve a meal. “If you haven’t tried it yet,” Merkley said. “Our anniversary dinner on May 17 is a great day to start.”