Residents of all ages welcome at VAC community dinners

By Ian Gough

DeKalb’s Voluntary Action Center (VAC) may be known for assisting senior citizens in the community, but anyone can attend their nutritious, free community dinners.

Program Director Nancy Hicks said the program is beneficial to DeKalb area residents who may be struggling financially or need a nice meal.

“Most of our programs are meant to serve people 60 years or older, but these dinners are really for anyone who needs it,” Hicks said. “A lot of folks thank us for the food and because they have made friends here. There are still a lot of hungry people in DeKalb.”

The dinners take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. every first, third and fifth Wednesday of each month at VAC’s dining room in the DeKalb Community Center, 330 Grove St.

“It started as a three month FEMA grant as part of Obama’s stimulus grant program in 2009,” said Associate Director Ellen Rodgers.

The program was initially three nights a week, but when the grant money ran out, the number of dinners were scaled down, Rodgers said.

To compensate for the lack of funding, VAC looks to local establishments to aid them financially or donate food and supplies.

“We usually feed about 75 to 80 people, but during the holidays we’ve seen more than 120 people there,” Rodgers said. “The volunteers and sponsors have enhanced our image in the community, and we have been able to introduce ourselves to a lot of people.”

The next community dinner will be held April 18.