One woman in Middleboro, MA is making a big difference "one meal at a time"
Road race benefits Middleboro community kitchen
Taunton, MA — Taunton Gazette 01/20/13
More than 200 participants in the second annual Run for Your Lunch raced five and a half kilometers before dining at the finish line on Sunday.
It was all to help All Are Welcome community kitchen in Middleboro, which is a type of restaurant with a policy of asking its patrons to pay what they can afford for a meal.
“I think it’s fabulous for everyone to come out and support us,” said Karen Cook, who founded All Are Welcome last year, opening it in March 2012 using funds from the inaugural Run for Your Lunch Race. “I have friends in road race community. It’s a fun thing to do. To put the community kitchen work and the running together is a lot of fun. We’ve got a lot of community support.”
Each participant paid at least $20 to run the road race and to have a lunch of clam or corn chowder, along with freshly baked bread and desserts. The race was based at the North Congregational Church.
All Are Welcome operates twice a week inside Middleboro’s Episcopal church, the Church of Our Savior on Union Street. On Thursdays a community meal is offered at lunch time, featuring soups, salads, sandwiches and special hot dishes, while breakfast is served on Saturdays.
The concept of the community kitchen is to provide restaurant-quality service while relieving hunger, Cook said. More fortunate guests pay what they feel is is a fair price and more if they wish to contribute additionally to the cause, while those who are fairing less well financially can pay what they can or volunteer.
Cook said the model has been working well since All Are Welcome opened.
“We are starting to see the need of the community and are starting to reach the community who needs us,” she said. “Whether you’re poor or not, you should be made to feel welcome and should appreciate the meal. We serve in a church, but we are definitely a restaurant. We are not a soup kitchen. We try to provide a restaurant atmosphere. For the most part, it seems to be working.”
For Paul Nickerson, of Middleboro, it was his first road race. Asked how it felt, his one-word response was “tiring.”
Nickerson said he knows for sure that the 2013 Run for Your Lunch was for a good cause, because he has eaten at All Are Welcome and said the food served there is excellent.
“This race was a good time, and there’s a sense of accomplishment,” Nickerson said. “The community kitchen is a good cause. I’ve had breakfast a few times and it’s good stuff.”
Sunday’s road race was also dedicated to Mary DuPont, a member of the board of All Are Welcome who died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 11. All Are Welcome pledged to donate $1 to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network for every pre-registered entrant in the 2013 Run for Your Lunch race.
Runners like Adam Petti, 15, of Raynham, said he knew DuPont’s story and that everyone was wearing orange in honor of her.
“It’s good when a community comes together and helps different causes,” Petti said.
One of the youngest participants in the road race was Raynham’s Gregory Melusky, who is 10 years old. Melusky said he was proud to help out All Are Welcome.
“The race was tough and it felt longer than it really was,” Melusky said. “I think the All Are Welcome is a great cause. I like to support it because there are some people out there who don’t have any food to eat. Raising money here is giving those people an opportunity to have a lunch and breakfast.”