ELORA – There aren’t too many places you can get a free lunch these days, but in Elora there’s an organization that’s feeding 30 or 40 people twice a month.
There’s no charge, no registration required and everyone is welcome.
Bungalow 55 started life in a bungalow at 55 Geddes St. and while the program has moved around town and the bungalow doesn’t exist anymore, the name stuck.
And so has the conviction that eating together is better than eating alone. And that eating is better than starving.
“Not everyone who comes is food insecure,” said Peter Skoggard, a local artist, musician and volunteer chef for the program.
“Just come. You don’t have to have a reason and you don’t have to wear that reason on your forehead.
“It’s just a gathering of people. They are nourished on so many levels.”
The program was suspended because of COVID-19, but organizers have started it up again.
Debra Reynolds, program coordinator, said they’ve changed the way they operate since resuming operations – the lunches are take-out rather than sit-down.
And they’ve been renamed “Feeding the Soul” which better reflects the goal and intent of the program.
Even coming together to pick up their meals has provided a sense of community and belonging, Reynolds said.
“It allows us to acknowledge one another as we are. This is particularly valuable because it’s through connections that we build resilience, and resiliency is what’s needed right now,” Reynolds said.
Bungalow 55 has formed partnerships with the St. John Anglican Church, where the meals are cooked, and the Elora Centre for the Arts, where they are distributed.
Reynolds said when COVID recedes and the weather gets better there will be a tent set up outside the art centre and patrons will be able to eat their meals together and enjoy some social time as well.
All the food is donated; all the workers are volunteers; and all the meals are healthy, the organizers say.
“As a society we can afford to feed everybody,” Skoggard said.
Meals are offered on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month and a week before, a call goes out on Facebook for ingredients for the planned meal. Donations of food and plastic containers can be left in a bin behind the arts centre. Meals can also be delivered if you can’t make to the arts centre in person.
For more information or to request transportation or meal delivery email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For updates on the program and the food that’s needed, visit “Community Lunch at Bungalow 55” on Facebook.