As we settle (not sure that is the right descriptor?) into this latest stage of the pandemic, our Open House program is entering a new stage as well. Clunes Open House program started more than 6 years ago. The concept was sparked by a desire to provide local people with access to low cost, healthy meal options. Meals were held weekly at the Town Hall, and quickly became an opportunity for people to connect. Later lunches were also introduced, making it a big commitment for a dedicated team of volunteers.
Go to www.clunesnh.org/openhousemeals to order.
COVID changed how we connected, switching to deliveries. Ironically though, COVID may have contributed to the next evolution of our Open House program in ways we could never have anticipated.
Reaching People we’d Never Reached Before
While not holding face to face dinners each week means we don’t have a big social gathering (although that doesn't mean we won't every now and again just for the fun of it), deliveries mean we are now outreaching to up to 50 households each week. Many of the people involved are living alone, are single parent families or people who do not have access to transport. They are people we may not have ever connected with, if COVID hadn’t made us change how we operate.
In 2022 we’ve switched to a model that ensures our new delivery volunteers will be trained in mental health first aid (amongst other things) and are linked to support systems/referral pathways that will help them assist people they are chatting to as they deliver meals.
Other deliveries are made to local people supporting the Open House program. People who want a night off cooking and enjoy knowing that the menu is always bought local and includes a leaning towards whatever locally grown produce is readily available. In fact, it’s part of the reason why the Open House program has stopped publishing our menu, because our meal plans often depend on what is excess in local gardens. This approach helps us keep our costs down and avoids waste.
All great reasons to order a delivery for your family - plus saves you on dishes lol!
Every Meal you Order makes a Difference
Offering a meat and vegetarian option, meals can be ordered and paid for online at www.clunesnh.org/openhousemeals. Alternatively you can call 53454078. Importantly, every meal you order means that we can offer another to someone in need.
AUTHOR: Lana de Kort.