A Cooperative Society
The Branford Community Dining Room has been doing a good job of feeding those in need for a long time. The home delivery program especially serves those that are ill, elderly, disabled, or without transport and makes sure nobody goes hungry. As a volunteer, I can see that rules are necessary, but we need to ensure that those rules encourage a cooperative society.
The segregated dining room now used does not do that. Indeed, it encourages a “them and us” attitude. Allowing volunteers and clients to eat at the same table and thus get to know each other provides a channel of communication that benefits all. Another very positive step would be to have an impartial advocate at work during mealtimes who could settle any disputes; be able to steer clients with housing, mental health, or addiction problems to other agencies; provide an appeal for those people who are dropped from the program; deal with any special dietary requests; and streamline the take-out service. Community is about more than feeding people, it is making them feel comfortable and empowered and giving them a safe and welcoming place to be.
Life as we know it is changing very rapidly. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the dining room is currently closed and we are doing takeout and delivery only. Now is a good time to make some changes so we are more responsive to those who have so little. Let’s show them that Branford cares.