Three dozen volunteers turned out Tuesday night for a meeting at the Masonic Hall in Le Roy to learn about a new organization being formed by the Le Roy Rotary Club to help provide nutritious meals to members of the community.
Since Grace's Kitchen shut down in the Fall fo 2016, those with the financial or social need for free community meals haven't had a place to go, and Rotary members realized if there was going to be another community kitchen, they might need to be the ones to step up and make it happen.
"We felt there was a need in the community and that's what we do," said Tracy Ford. "Our motto is service above self."
Grace's Kitchen closed after Selby Davis left town. Davis operated Grace's Kitchen with oversight by the Le Roy Christian Community Project (LCCP). From 2011 to 2016, Grace's Kitchen served 100 to 125 people meals regularly, and 70 percent of those individual helped were elderly.
Meanwhile, there has been an increase in students participating in the LCCP's Backpack Club, which provides students with food bags to help them not go hungry between the time school gets out on Friday and begins again on Monday. About 35 percent of the students at Le Roy CSD are enrolled in the school's free or reduced-price meal program.
All of this, Ford said, points to an ongoing need for a meal program in the community.
To start, the Rotary Club, assisted by Foodlink, the Masons, local churches, the Boy Scouts, and other community groups, will serve a meal every other week at the Masonic Hall on Bank Street.
The first meal is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27.
To facilitate the sustainability of the program, the Rotary members formed a nonprofit corporation.
The directors are: Christine Gephart, president; James Ellison, VP; Tracy Ford, secretary; Benjamin Dragon, treasurer; and board members Samantha Vagg Lawrence Boylan, Joan Ellison, Lynda Lowe and Collen O'Connor.
Much of the food will be provided by Foodlink. Ford said local restaurants said they will assist with meals.
Ford said there should be plenty of food donated to help keep the program going so the main thing the organization needs from community members who want to help is to show up and offer helping hands.
"Manpower is the one big need," she said.