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Free Community Meal to feature Hmong Cuisine

Posted by Collin Sandoe, Office of Community Engagement student representative on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Morris Community Meal will be highlighting Hmong cuisine at the Morris Senior Community Center for November’s Community Meal on Monday, November 29, 2010. The project serves warm, made-from-scratch meals each month, which are open to all members of the Stevens County community. This month, ongoing volunteers will collaborate with the University of Minnesota, Morris’s Asian Student Association and the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Intercultural programs to serve an authentic Hmong meal. Hmong cuisine is food specific to that ethnic region of Southern Asia. Organizers plan to serve spring rolls with rice and stir-fry as the main dish. Other sponsors for November’s meal are Federated Church and the Morris Human Rights Commission.

Community Meal is open to every member of the Stevens County community and entirely free of charge. Food options for people with special diets, such as gluten-free, diabetic, vegan, and vegetarian, are always available, as are child friendly options. This year, meals will be served from 5:30 until 7 p.m. on the last Monday of each month when the University is in session—November 29, February 28, March 28, and April 25. The Morris Senior Community Center is located at 603 Oregon Avenue in Morris.

Since its inception in January 2009, Community Meal has established a reputation for its delicious menus and the warm, welcoming atmosphere that accompanies each meal. The project has come to be a valued event in the community, providing free meals to hundreds of Stevens County residents and opening community space to build bridges and strengthen existing connections. In serving the meal, the sponsors hope to initiate new connections among community members and provide a free warm meal to those who may not normally be afforded one.

Support for Community Meal is provided by a broad coalition of local businesses and organizations. This autumn, the collaborating and sponsoring organizations include: Pomme de Terre Food Co-op, Willie’s Supervalu, Conway, Deuth, and Smiesing, Morris Healthy Eating, Federated Church, Morris Senior Community Center, Morris Human Rights Commission, and UMM’s Office of Community Engagement, Asian Student Association, Healthy Lifestyles Floor, Civic Engagement Floor, and Office of Equity, Diversity, and Intercultural Programs.

Organizers are looking for businesses and community organizations that would like to serve as meal sponsors next year, as well as volunteers to help cook. Community members can come to the Morris Senior Center between 1 and 5 p.m. on the day of the meal to help out, or Sunday night from 4 until 9 p.m. To get involved as a sponsor or volunteer, contact the Office of Community Engagement at 320-589-6276 or email.