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Cooperative Effort Putting Food On Plates

DALLAS -- A group of Dallas residents have decided to stop relying on others to feed the hungry in the community and take matters into their own hands.

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Carol Marshall, Mikko Peterson and Greg Koloen (from left) help prepare the first dinner served by the James2 Community Kitchen in Dallas on March 31.

DALLAS -- A group of Dallas residents have decided to stop relying on others to feed the hungry in the community and take matters into their own hands.

John Stein, director of James2 Community Kitchen, said he and some friends have joined forces to make a difference.

"We want the community to be responsible for taking care of its people and not depend on others to do that for us," Stein said. "It's just a group of people that came together with the same vision."

Stein said the board of directors is comprised of regular members of the community such as retirees and stay-at-home mothers.

Initially, the kitchen will be open from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. the last two Tuesdays of each month. The first meal was served March 31 at the Dallas United Methodist Church. The next meals will be April 21 and April 28.

Stein said the group is providing a meal for anyone who shows up. There will be no questions or requirements.

Carol Marshall, who owned Cynthian Cafe, is using her culinary skills to prepare the meals on site. Each dinner will provide protein, greens and starches. Some menu items will include meatloaf, green beans, red potatoes, chicken pot pie and spaghetti. Dessert and beverages will also be included.

"It'll be good food and a great opportunity for those in need to enjoy it," Marshall said.

At the first dinner on March 31, Stein said they had so many volunteers they had to turn some away. What he wished for were more individuals coming to eat.

The smell of meatloaf and green beans wafted through the church kitchen and dining areas. The cupcakes for dessert were lined up just waiting to be eaten. One could tell this was not a meal provided by a food service, but by loving hands.

Stein said the volunteers provided 50 meals at the church site and sent those people home with full bellies and doggie bags. The leftover food was taken to low-income housing in Dallas, where the group fed 40 more people.

His goal for the next meal is to publicize more to feed more of the needy in the community, he said.

The program is lacking in funding and a permanent site, Stein said. The group is looking for people who can donate time, food or money to the cause.

Stein hopes the program grows as future plans may include tutoring programs, budget counseling and recovery. Another goal is to be able to feed the needy three times each week.

"We want to work on finding the cause of poverty and break the cycle," Stein said.

To volunteer, contact Donna Davis at 503-508-8421.

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