The inaugural meal for the Jefferson Village Community Center’s new Healthy Meals program sold out in just over an hour on Friday, Jan. 29.
The Jefferson Village Community Center is collaborating with Le Barn, Revitalize Jefferson, and Rising Tide Co-op, of Damariscotta, to bring a series of prepared meals to Jefferson every Friday through April 2021.
The Jefferson Village Community Center “was formed out of the Revitalize Jefferson group” and is “utilizing historic buildings around the village while considering a permanent location,” organizer Lauren Comstock said in an email. Jefferson Village Community Center has applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and sponsors events and programs, with a current focus on “pandemic-friendly” programs.
The first meal, available by curbside pickup, included Yankee pot roast with mashed potatoes and roast zucchini for $6 with an option to purchase a fresh Hootenanny baguette for an additional $3.
According to Comstock, the goal of the program is to provide “affordable, healthy meals, at cost, to residents during the pandemic, when resources are limited in the village.”
The program is based in part on Rising Tide’s Loving Local Meals program, which has provided more than 10,000 meals to local food pantries, sourced primarily from local growers. According to Rising Tide’s website, “This is the work that builds a food-secure foundation for the future. Local producers provide for us year-round and we need to support and expand their capacity going forward.” The Healthy Meals program is a natural extension of that philosophy.
Curbside pickup was originally scheduled from 1-3 p.m., but customers were pulling in well before 1 and many were purchasing multiple meals. Business remained brisk through the first hour of the service and the small group of volunteers sold all 100 meals more quickly than anticipated.
COVID-19 protocols were in place, including hand-sanitizing, mask-wearing, and physical distancing. Cash and checks were accepted, and any tips will support Revitalize Jefferson’s mission of community improvement.
“We hope to raise enough tip money to fund spring flowers for the flower boxes on the Davis Stream bridge and at the Jefferson Post Office,” Comstock said in an email.
“We don’t eat out and pot roast is really good,” Jefferson resident Cynthia Bragg said. “This is awesome.”
“It’s a great deal, good food at a good price, and it supports a good organization,” said Lou Pieri, also of Jefferson.
Responses on community Facebook pages were all positive about both the food and the program.
“The pot roast dinner was delicious and I could have made a meal out of the bread!” Sandy Limouze said in a post. “Can’t wait to try the roasted chicken next week!”
Dorothea Daniels also praised the food: “Everything was so good! Huge servings.”
Future offerings may include other comfort foods, like meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, savory meat pies, lasagna, fish chowder, or chicken parmigiana.
Organizers promised to order more meals for the second Friday, Feb. 5.