Lex Eat Together (LET) is an organization which supplies a place of warmth, welcome and wonderful food, a place where folks in need can feel taken care of and cared for one evening a week. Redeemer is the place where this weekly meal is offered. Since LET’s first meal on October 21st, more than 150 meals have been served.
Who are the guests that come to share a meal? A wide range of guests come. For example, an 81 year old man, living on social security in a small apartment. He may not have much money for food and be lonely eating by myself. Or a homeless 25 year old woman, living in a hotel room with her children. She can’t really cook in my small microwave, and have trouble affording healthy food. Or a 40 year old man who is a recent refugee, with few resources who is isolated and frightened. Or a 50 year old woman who used to have enough money to live well, but had huge medical expenses. Her friends don’t know this but even feeding herself and her kids is a struggle.
What do they all have in common? They feel isolated, and need help. None of us really wants to ask for help. LET is the place where anyone in need can go each week and be waited on. A place with flowers on the table, where a meal is served and each guest is special.
What does Lex Eat Together look like to me as a guest? I arrive at Redeemer to see signs pointing the way to the dinner. I walk in and find someone waiting for me at a small table in the lobby. She smiles at me and welcomes me. On the table are a centerpiece and a copy of that nights menu. Last week it was macaroni and cheese with chicken. I can take a name tag if I wish and write my first name on it. I walk in to the great hall and see a beautiful room, with round tables all set with table cloth, glasses, silverware, a bread beasket and a beautiful centerpiece. I sit wherever I want. A server comes over and asks me if I’d like salad. If so, a fresh salad is brought to me. Then the server brings me a plated dinner. I chat with the people at my table if I feel like chatting. The server will ask me if I want more. When we have all finished our dinners, I am offered dessert .Last week it was apple pie freshly baked by students at Minuteman Tech. Whenever I want coffee or tea, I take it from the table at the side of the room. When I am finished, everyone wishes me a friendly goodby and tells me they look forward to seeing me next week.
Lex Eat Together is a new organization. For those of us involved in the process of creating it, it has had unexpected bonuses. We knew there was a need, 1,200 people in Lexington below the poverty level, another 3,000 between the poverty level and heating assistance level. What we didn’t know was the unexpected bonuses which have come with the organization. Our worlds have expanded, meeting people from many different communities within Lexington. More than 150 people have signed on as volunteers and they represent the diversity which is Lexington. We have met the faculty at Minuteman Tech culinary institute who make a complete dinner once a month. We now are a reflection of Lexington’s diverse community. When we look around at the volunteers during the dinner preparation and the dinner, we see people aged 15-85. We see many ethnicities, many religious affiliations we see people so happy to be working together for others. When we look at our guests, we see people age 1-90. We see many ethnicities, many religions. Under Redeemer’s roof, we hope that this community continues to expand.
We need your help. We want to reach out to all in our greater Lexington community who need our dinner, who would enjoy the companionship, and who might not know about our weekly meal or who might be uncomfortable coming for the first time. If you are that person, please join us. If you know someone who might be in need of such a meal, please suggest it. Even better, ask if they’d like to go to the dinner with you. It is much more comfortable to go to a new place for the first time with a friend. We look forward to meeting new friends.
The best way for anyone interested in volunteering for Lex Eat Together is to either go to the website http://www.lexeattogether.org/ and sign up or contact Nancy Alloway, Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.