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Free community dinners designed to form bonds

By Matthew Johnson

UMM News Service

Morris residents and University of Minnesota, Morris campus students will gather Jan. 26 at Legacy Living in Morris to prepare a warm, healthy and free meal to serve to the community.

The "Morris Community Meal" is the first in a series of four monthly meals that will be served as a collaborative project of students, community members and local businesses which have partnered to provide free meals to Morris residents and to promote a strong, vibrant community.

The free meal is open to the public and will be served on the last Monday of every month -- Jan. 26, Feb. 23, March 30 and April 27.

Meals will be served from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. All community members who would like to help cook and prepare the meal can volunteer by arriving at Legacy Living any time between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. the afternoon of the meal. Legacy Living Limited is at 108 E 6th Street in Morris.

Support for Morris Community Meal will be provided by a broad coalition of local businesses and organizations. To date, the collaborating and sponsoring organizations include: Legacy Living, Stevens FORWARD!, Bremer Bank, Bello Cucina, Mobiz Computers, Hoffman Realty, John's Total Entertainment, Willie's Super Valu, Pomme de Terre Food Co-op, Stevens County Food Shelf and Hometown Bakery.

"By bringing people together over food, we hope to strengthen the bonds in the Morris community," said Carol McCannon, Community Service and Volunteerism coordinator at the University of Minnesota, Morris. "Between students and community members, between the young and the elderly, between the various diverse cultures represented by our city's population. We hope to create the space for people to cook, eat and interact as a community."

Lauren Dennhardt, Morris campus Student Volunteerism coordinator, said the meal is intended to provide healthy food and togetherness.

"We believe that sharing food can be a transformative experience that promotes rich human relationships and an interconnected community," Dennhardt said.