Northborough’s Community Meals facing difficult financial situation

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Volunteers were busy preparing the meals for the Community Meal distribution. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – Community Meals needs your help. 

A long-running program offering free meals and social connection to community members in Northborough, organizers estimate that they will run out of funds in June without additional support.

“We’re running out of money,” organizer Vicki Killeen told the Community Advocate in April.

She noted that the team does write grant applications and they receive donations from community members.

“It’s a wonderful town of Northborough. So, we do get some,” she continued. “We’re just waiting until the day when we can’t do it anymore.”

That, she added, “will be sad.”

Organizers pivot during COVID-19

Community Meals have been served at Trinity Church in town for years. Individuals from different churches and civic organizations in the community, in turn, took turns preparing and serving the meal. 

“Then, COVID hit and everything shut down,” fellow organizer Martha Michalewich said.

Killeen is one of the directors of the Northborough Food Pantry. She heard that people missed the Community Meals.

So, organizers decided that, while they couldn’t offer residents the fellowship as part of a pandemic-era Community Meals program, they could at least try to ease guests’ burden of having to prepare another meal.

They reached out to local restaurants and asked if they could make a packaged meal for $5.

Volunteers then provide participants with water and dessert and in-season fruit is donated by Davidian’s Farm Market. 

The organizers shifted to offering curbside meals in June of 2020, providing meals every Wednesday since. 

‘It’s a hot meal and a friendly face’

Last year, the organizers sounded the alarm that they were going to run out of funds by the end of March. They were able to secure enough money to continue to provide the service until now. 

“The community is very, very generous,” Michalewich said. “People have periodically given donations.”

As the program has moved forward, demand remains, with recent weeks seeing organizers distribute between 125 and 130 meals.

“It’s a hot meal and a friendly face,” Michalewich said.

She added that the costs continue, though, with a set of 125 meals costing roughly $600.

How to help

Organizers welcome donations to support Community Meals. Those can be made through Northborough Helping Hands by mailing a check to Northborough Helping Hands at P.O. Box 383, Northborough, MA 01532. Checks should include “Community Meals” in the memo.

Donations can also be made online at https://www.northboroughhelpinghands.org/donations.html.

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