Golden Ears United Church has agreed to host a Saturday night community dinner previously held at the CEED Centre.
From a barbecue on the streets of Haney to a small indoor venue at the CEED Centre to Golden Ears United Church, St. George's Community Suppers will continue the tradition of serving hot meals and building community for those looking for some respite on Saturday nights.
After the District of Maple Ridge asked that the group who provided about 70 people with regular meals at the CEED Centre every week on Saturday night to find another location, Golden Ears United Church stepped in and invited them - albeit pending final approval from the church's executive - to serve the meals in their facilities at 22165 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
This approval came through last week, reported the church's minister Leenane Shiels.
The community suppers began as a late night barbecue outside of Benz on North Avenue and 223rd Street, started by Teri Mitchell's late husband several years ago.
Mitchell is the coordinator of the dinners, and she was greatly appreciative the space the CEED Centre gave them.
The last meal was held on March 23 at the CEED Centre, and the next week the group moved their dinners seamlessly to Golden Ears United, which will now be the permanent location.
The meals are served in the church's lounge, which is like a "family room," said Mitchell.
"Having the kitchen has simplified things a great deal," Mitchell said.
There are real dishes and silverware - no need to rely on styrofoam, which increases both cost and garbage.
"If we run out of coffee, we can make another pot," she added.
St. George's Community Suppers represent a group of volunteers dedicated to serving meals to those who are hungry, and while it's named after the church that Mitchell's husband attended, many of the volunteers are non-churchgoers, Mitchell pointed out.
The people who come for the community suppers are from many walks of life, Mitchell explained, some low-income, others homeless, while some have mental health and addictions issues.
But there are families and seniors who come as well, and the dinners are open to anyone who wants to join in.
One person bikes in from Mission to attend the suppers, but most diners are from the local community.
When the Hammond and St. Andrew's United churches united last summer, part of the hope was to make it a church that was even stronger in serving God and the community working collaboratively with other groups, said Shiels.
"It's responding to the gospel call to feed the hungry and be the body of Christ in the world," Shiels said.
The meal is more than just charity, it is open to the community and an invitation to the community to "break bread together," she added.
The United Church, an offshoot of the Methodist Church, has a "particular bent for social justice," Shiels explained, but it extends beyond feeding the hungry - they want to figure out the the bigger issues.
St. George's Community Suppers take place every Saturday from 6: 30 to 8 p.m. at Golden Ears United Church, 22165 Dewdney Trunk Road.
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