Opportunities to contribute to one of the town’s most successful initiatives still exist before it gets underway for a third season.
The popular 100 Meals campaign provides one meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) a day to those who are struggling for various reasons. The program will run from mid-December to late March 2020. Last year, 6,500 meals were served.
Mayor Pam Mood says a couple of organizations from past years have taken on other projects and have had to step back.
“So, we’re still looking for fill-in venues for a few days a week,” she says.
“Along with teams that will actually do the cooking, the chopping and the grocery shopping for those days.”
Many local churches and organizations have stepped up to help, in addition to NSCC Burridge Campus.
Mood says although the meals are served within town limits, studies have shown the percentage of those attending are 50/50 from county and town.
“The biggest piece for us is that it’s community building on every front,” she says.
Seniors have told organizers that in the winter months they don’t get out, she adds, but they’re really excited to call their friends to go for a meal and a chat.
“They’ve told me that they do this on a more frequent basis because of it now and also get together more for other events like a game of cards or an afternoon with the girls.”
Although the program was initially set up to help residents who may need a little extra help during the coldest days of winter, the meals are for the entire community.
Mood says sometimes people in need are sitting next to pharmacists, teachers and entire families that just come out for a meal.
Although a fundraising jar may be set out, donations are not necessary in order to eat.
Another aspect of the 100 Meals program is that nourishment comes in many forms.
“Sometimes we may think we know what another person’s story is, but we certainly don’t,” says Mood.
People can be fed in different ways, whether it’s a meal for physical health, social health or mental health, just spending time together.
The atmosphere is one of happy fulfilment.
“We’ve had local musicians come out, pick up their guitars, sing, play. It’s so great to see the children dancing in open spaces with the musicians playing. Their tummies are full, they’re running around, laughing,” said Mayor Mood.
Businesses, organizations and individuals are footing the bill of some meals, which typically can cost between $1 and $2 per person. Sometimes 20 may attend, other times 250.
Those who can contribute their time or funds to this cause can visit town hall or mail a donation (400 Main St. Yarmouth, NS B5A 1G2).
You can also email, or contribute through the Community Asset Donation program.
Tax receipts are available for donations $20 and over.
Last year, the Town of Yarmouth was recognized for its 100 Meals initiative by being named a 2018 finalist for a Municipal Innovation Award – a national honour. The award recognizes municipal governments for innovative projects that have made large impacts on their communities. The honour came with a $500 prize, which the town donated to HOPE.