Every Thursday evening, dozens of Plymouth area citizens are welcomed into the community room of the Congregational Church on Main Street, and are given a free, warm meal. They are gracious in receiving this gift and thankful their community can meet this basic human need.
For one student, though, there is a special pride in helping the Meals for Many program. Jerod Kerouac, a senior majoring in Communication Studies, raised enough money to buy 11 new tables for the program. Kerouac’s incentive to replace the tables started one night when he and another student volunteer were putting away the old tables.
“A piece of a table broke off, and it fell on my friend Caleb’s foot. I knew something had to be done,” said Kerouac, who has volunteered for the program since last fall. Kerouac was awarded a $1000 grant from the Alumni Grants for Student Success program this Spring, with the promise he would match that amount from other sources while participating in a community enhancing project. Kerouac chose to raise money for new tables, and his idea was embraced by generous donors in Residential Life and the University Police, as well as various members of the Congregational Church. He was able to raise $1175 dollars, which, along with the grant, was enough for 11 lightweight tables capable of seating eight adults.
“The best part about the tables is that they have a ten year warranty on them,” said Kerouac. “Hopefully they will not break, but if something happens to them at least they can be replaced.
Kerouac’s effort hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Meals for Many staff. The program started 13 years ago, when townspeople realized there was a need for meals for the less-fortunate.
“Originally it was just a closet in the church where a nun would give out free clothing to the needy,” said Glenda Houle, one of the volunteers from the program. “Then things started to take off, and from the idea came the Meals program,“ she said.
Since then, the organization has been serving up to 180 people a week in the Congregational Church community room. Bill Hall is in charge of the program and has been for 10 years. He oversees the complete preparation of the weekly meal and always makes sure that there is a variety of food. Volunteers arrive as early as 11a.m. to start the preparation. PSU is well-represented, with students from University sports teams and student organizations acting as regular volunteers.
contact Bruce Lyndes,
Media Relations Mgr.