• President Lee McKenzie McKinnon of Bethania Community Centre.

Free meals and friendship in Bethania

Every Tuesday night at the Bethania Community Centre, diners gather around for friendly chitchat and a free hearty meal.

It’s one of centre president Lee McKenzie McKinnon’s favourite events.

After witnessing locals grappling with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, treasurer Peta Tago created the event to ease loneliness and financial strain.

“Our goal is to help people when they need it the most.”

— Lee McKenzie McKinnon

The community dinner is run by volunteers, and meals are pre-cooked and then prepared on the night. The ever-changing menu features dishes like spaghetti, curried sausages, and stews.

On a normal week, around 15 diners show up at dinnertime.

‘The most rewarding aspect is getting the community together and seeing strangers become friends,’ Lee says.

‘When people first come along, they tend to be a bit shy but as the weeks go on, everybody’s chatting with each other.

‘No one’s left out of conversation and our volunteers make sure that newcomers are made to feel welcome from day one.’

The clientele is diverse, with plenty of regulars in their thirties and one-off visitors of all ages.

‘It’s all about building a stronger community and we’ve seen some regulars help others they’ve met at the dinners,’ Lee says.

The Bethania Community Centre committee also prepares free food hampers to help diners with grocery costs. Packed with nutritious and whole foods, these hampers provide balanced meals throughout the week.

‘Our goal is to help people when they need it the most,’ Lee says.

‘We also look for new ways to support the community and bring everyone together.’

The centre also hosts a variety of community events like Bethania Eats, musical morning tea and seasonal festivities like the yearly Easter egg hunt.

See what’s happening at Bethania Community Centre or check out more Logan events here.

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