DeKALB – The Voluntary Action Center is looking for sponsors to help continue its series of community dinners into 2013.
Ellen Rogers, the volunteer organization’s associate director, said the biweekly free dinners would probably end if there is not some kind of outside help.
“Nobody’s looking to pull the plug on it,” Rogers said. “We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved.”
On the first, third and fifth Wednesday of every month, VAC serves a free meal to 100 people at its senior luncheon center at VAC’s dining room in the DeKalb Community Center, 330 Grove St.
Nancy Harris, VAC’s senior luncheon program director, said the people who come out for the community are a “very nice cross-section” of the community, including seniors, families and individual adults.
VAC started the program in July 2009 as part of the money it had received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a federal stimulus package Congress passed earlier that year.
Rogers said the program initially served three free meals a week.
But as funding became scarce and food prices went up, they were rolled back to only two or three times a month.
Rogers said sponsors are being sought without pulling support away from the Meals on Wheels program.
“We’re very, very fortunate with the support we have,” Rogers said.
She said VAC has received “tremendous” community support for the past four years from groups such as Sycamore Kiwanis and local churches.
These groups have donated money, food and volunteers to the community dinner, but “we’re starting fresh with nobody lined up yet” in January.
“When the agency is going seeking support for the work they do, there’s always that message that grabs people and doesn’t grab others,” Rogers said. “It’s a matter of getting that message out.”
If a sponsor is not located by mid-December, Rogers said, “We’ll either not do it or morph it into something else that does not require sponsorship.” She added that she does not know what that will be.
Rogers said the Sophie A. Novinsky-David P. Withaar Foundation is sponsoring the meals in November and December.
Pies for the Thanksgiving dinner are being donated by Courtney Smirz and members of Senior Service Providers.