Hardwick, News

Youth, Seniors and Community Members Meet at Community Dinner

Share article

courtesy photo
Young people and adults who helped with the community dinner on May 18 at the United Church of Hardwick were (left to right) front row: Ben Gomo, Harmoney Peets, Rebecca Fulford, Kiara Denis, Zander Bingham; back row: Josh Fox (Hazen teacher), Dean Burns, Noelle Ditzler, Ginger Bowley, Jaimey Farrand, Reeve Basom (CAE) and Jen Olson (Hazen Work-Based Learning Coordinator)

by Rev. Evelyn Lavelli, Community Journalist

HARDWICK – Hazen Union youth under the direction of Jen Olson, Work-Based Learning Coordinator, have been providing a meal for the community dinner at the United Church of Hardwick since the fall of 2019. They provided three to four meals on the third Thursday of the month and then COVID-19 happened and everything shut down.

During the interim time of shut down, the Center for an Agricultural Economy, took part in a government program called, “Everyone Eats.” Meghan Wayland coordinated meals with local restaurants and the public through online to-go reservations paid for by U.S. Funds. It was not clear how long this program would last, however it finally ended in March 2022.

The United Church made an attempt in January 2021 and then September 2021 to offer to-go meals, with very little response. The Missions Team, now providing a meal on the fourth Thursday, waited for Thanksgiving 2021 and had 35 to-go orders and four in-person meals. That December of 2021, Hazen Union was back and provided 35-plus to-go meals on December 16, followed by 60 plus meals provided by the church on December 23. Except for a brief shut-down in January 2022 due to increased cases of COVID in Hardwick, the community dinner was back in business.

courtesy photo
Seniors who volunteered to help with the community dinner on May 18 at the United Church of Hardwick were (left to right): Sybil Messier, Nancy Stevens, Angie Grace, Lizanne Blair, Wanda Reen, Judy Bolio and Victor Densmore.

Reeve Basom offers her talents and resources from the Center for an Agricultural Economy and supplements the Hazen Union meals when needed and provides the summer meals with others June through August. Jen Olson with youth and others from Hazen Union offer their talents and resources on the third Thursday of the month. Durrelle Morey from St. John’s Episcopal Church bakes homemade bread for each meal. The Missions Team from the United Church of Hardwick under the direction of Sarah Withers offers meals and resources on the fourth Thursday. Sharyn Salls (802-472-6566) makes many phone call reminders. Sally Anstey from the community, is the delivery coordinator and delivers meals. The seniors of Hardwick enjoy the meals in person, their donations helping with the cost.

The community dinner was begun in 1992 by Robin Cappuccino and Wheelock Mountain Farm under its 501 (C) (3) status. Support has come from the Buffalo Mountain Market, Riverside Farms, the United Church of Hardwick, St. John’s Episcopal Church and Heartbeet Lifesharing Community over the last 30 years. It began as in-person only and now offers to-go meals.

There will be a meeting on Wednesday, May 24, at 4 p.m., at the United Church of Hardwick to determine the future of this community dinner. All are welcome to join the meeting, email or call to volunteer: contact Sarah Withers at [email protected] or Reeve Basom at [email protected] or Jen Olson at [email protected]

[Rev. Evelyn Lavelli is the minister at the United Church of Hardwick.]

Comments are closed.