Chrissy Deye, Heather Janzen and Monica Kriese serve a person who stopped by for the outdoor free lunch on Friday, Oct. 30 that volunteers provide from 12 to 1 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Chrissy Deye, Heather Janzen and Monica Kriese serve a person who stopped by for the outdoor free lunch on Friday, Oct. 30 that volunteers provide from 12 to 1 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Throughout pandemic, outdoor lunch provided in Salmon Arm

Volunteers into eighth months of offering meal to people who need food or company

Since March, those people who could use a nutritious lunch and some company have been welcomed to an outdoor venue in Salmon Arm.

Four days a week – Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday – from 12 to 1 p.m., a group of volunteers has been providing a meal to people who are without homes, people who might be low income and are a little lonely – essentially anyone who stops by.

The site of the lunch is adjacent to the ‘Safeway fields’ as they are commonly known, behind the Crossroads Free Methodist Church and just north of the field side of the School District 83 office.

Chrissy Deye, who could be seen serving lunches as the snow fell in March just after the pandemic began, said the volunteers tried five days a week at the start but reduced it to four days after a while. She said people without homes are able to come to the lunch as back-up to other sources of food when they need it.

Asked who makes the food, she said it’s all thanks to volunteers.

“Behind the scenes we have another army of people who are blessing our socks off, making sure that we keep everybody well fed with good nourishing food. We don’t do any fast food – it’s all homemade stuff.”

She said the volunteers who serve stick strictly to the hour for lunch so the food is safely in and out of the area quickly.

Read more: Freezing cold emphasizes need for drop-in centre for Salmon Arm’s homeless

Read more: COVID-19 – McGuire Lake building secured for temporary housing, Lighthouse shelter to move in

On Friday, Oct. 30, the menu was a steaming vegetable and beef soup, along with grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese scones, coffee or hot chocolate and donuts. About 10 people filtered through, enjoying the food and some sitting and chatting in the physically distanced lawn chairs.

Also volunteering were Monica Kriese and Heather Janzen.

Kriese said the goal is to provide good nutrition because many of the people who come are lacking it.

“We’re just doing it as friends feeding friends. People from the community come in, they’re lonely, it’s a good place to just sit and visit, and eat in a safe environment, or as safe as possible.

“They need to eat, and there’s nowhere else they can eat. People say they can go to Wendy’s, but that would gobble up their cheque pretty fast.”

Since the pandemic and the move of the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter to the former McGuire Lake Congregate Living facility, people staying there receive meals prepared by the Sorrento Centre.

On Oct. 30, none of the people who came to the outdoor lunch were living at McGuire Lake. While it shelters many people, a couple of lunch patrons said it is not the right fit for everyone in Salmon Arm who is without housing.
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