Free community meals bring people together

Volunteers served a free BBQ on May 27 to celebrate spring and five years of Cafe 545 meals in the community. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

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Cafe 545 celebrated five years of free community meals and relationship building on May 27 with a BBQ.

The weekly community meal runs out of Central Station and can see anywhere from 275 to 350 people on any given Monday.

Marian Hildebrand has been organizing Cafe 545 meals for the last five years, and Bertha Wiebe joined her just over a year ago.

Together with their committee the two organize and prepare the weekly community meals. Hildebrand said she never imagined that the meals would get so big, especially since Cafe 545 is based on donations.

“It boggles my mind on the generosity of the community,” she said. “We would not be able to do this without the generosity of people donating food items or monetary gifts, and also the volunteers that come out.”

“I never imagined that our numbers would grow to 300,” she added. “It’s great to see the relationship building that has taken place in the last five years.”

The meals fill a need in the community, both in terms of food and socialization for people.

“We have quite a few families that really enjoy coming out and having a meal here,” Wiebe said. “Meeting new people and enjoying the meals.”

Hildebrand said the purpose of Cafe 545 is to create a sense of community. “We have seen that happen,” she said. “Relationships building between people who come to the meal, between the volunteers and people who come, between the volunteers themselves. It puts a smile on my face to see the relationships that have been built.”