In September of 2015 St. Andrew’s United Church launched our Free Community Lunch Program. We believed that there were folks within Cochrane who could use a free and wholesome lunch in a safe and welcoming place. We started with 4 people ready to help, a few dollars and an urge to help people. Little did we know that Cochrane was in such need of something so basic as a shared meal. We were aware that some of our neighbours could use a hot meal, but we were surprised to discover that the more urgent need for many folks in Cochrane was to have someone with whom to share that meal. Our guests include seniors, business people, moms with young children, and our Indigenous neighbours.
The Free Community Lunch took off immediately and has been growing steadily ever since. In 2016 we were nominated for 3 Cochrane Community Awards and we are proud to say in 2017 we won two of these awards. We served about 20 people on that first Tuesday in 2015. In 2019 we served an average 52 of our neighbours with as many as 87 being served in one day—this means we serve over 2,000 meals per year at a cost of about $2 per meal.
Each week 4 volunteers work about four hours to prepare, cook, serve and clean for our guests. Most of our volunteers come from St. Andrew’s United Church, but we also have community groups, businesses, service groups, families, and other individuals who sign up to volunteer their help.
We are so grateful for all of the support from community partners and sponsors:
Cobs Bread Cochrane Lions Club 2 Pharmacy Unbeatable Mortgage Group