The Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative (CHNFC) officially launched its Charlie’s Community Kitchen initiative on Monday.
A press release stated, “Intended to provide food for body and soul, this program invites the community to join together for a delicious, nutritious meal while engaging in conversation – because after a year of isolation, we are all looking for new ways to connect with each other.”
Charlie’s Community Kitchen is hosted from 2-4 p.m. every Monday through Aug. 30 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. At each gathering, 40 to 50 hot meals will be provided to the community for free.
Brian Archie, community integrator with the CHNFC, said he was pleased with the turnout at the first event and is looking forward to increased community participation as the summer goes on.
“As gatherings and events start up again, many of us are still struggling,” Archie said. “Many of us still feel lonely, isolated and anxious. Many of us are dealing with financial repercussions from the pandemic, too. So, this initiative is so important right now – giving people easy, free access to nutritious meals, while also providing an opportunity for them to reconnect with each other. It’s good for our minds and bodies.”
The Charlie’s Community Kitchen program is thanks to Charlie Harris, leader of Project Green Space, a resident-driven project sponsored by the Collaborative.
“Project Green Space is all about building self-sustainability, and in a way, so is the community kitchen,” Harris said. “It’s about the community coming together to help each other, and finding resources they need right in their own backyard. Whether the resources needed are some fresh produce or just a friendly, familiar face to turn to, we can all truly be there for each other as neighbors.”
The Rev. Helen Harper of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church said she is glad to be utilizing the recently renovated kitchen for these events.
“We’re looking forward to showing people the capabilities of this kitchen and how it can truly be a way of serving those in our community,” she said. “Coming together for a meal is such a special opportunity, and it’s going to be great to see meaningful friendships begin to form among those who may have once been strangers.”
The next Charlie’s Community Kitchen event will be held Monday, July 19, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 140 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls.
The Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative is a 501(c)(3) that gives opportunities to residents of Niagara Falls to become change agents. The Collaborative is engaged in the community, provides tools and support to residents, and partners with local businesses, nonprofit organizations and faith communities to positively impact the health and well-being of City of Niagara Falls residents. Learn more at healthierniagarafalls.org.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is an inclusive church that has roots in Niagara Falls that go back to 1823. Today, the members of St. Peter’s cherish their past, which is rooted in the history of the Niagara Frontier. Learn more at https://stpetersniagarafalls.org/.