Free community meal for Coralville residents

Coralville Community Food Pantry’s Free Community Meal

Coralville Rec Center — Friday, Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

Coralville Community Food Pantry invites residents to share a meal together on Friday. — photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The Coralville Community Food Pantry (CCFP) is presenting the first of its community meals for 2018 this week, on Friday, Feb. 9, at 5:30 p.m.

“Good things happen when we gather together around food,” meal coordinator Hai Vo Huynh said in a press release. “We have an increasingly diverse community, with a diverse set of challenges. The first step towards building a stronger community is by sitting down with one another to share a meal together.”

The meal, which will be served at the Coralville Rec Center, highlights ingredients that are both healthy and affordable. It will be prepared by community volunteers in the kitchen at the Coralville United Methodist Church prior to the event. All ages are encouraged to attend, and the Rec Center staff will be offering games and activities for kids throughout the meal, including a bounce house, giant yard games and a stuffed animal walk — which is much like a cake walk, but with stuffed animals as the prizes.

The food pantry, which offers food assistance three time a week in addition to a school break nutrition program and a seed library, held three community meals in 2017, and aims to increase that this year.

“Our plan is to do four meals this year,” CCFP Executive Director John Boller said in an email. “This one, two in the summer (in collaboration with the Coralville Public Library again), and one in the fall/early winter”

The food pantry always welcomes volunteers, either for specific events like the community meal or for more regular work behind the scenes.