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Chester resident Sherrie Bridgman has had a 10-year dream of starting a community-run soup kitchen within Chester.
Taking her dream to the next step, she presented her proposal during a Feb. 5 meeting at the Almanor Basin Community Resource Center.
Present at the meeting were Plumas Rural Services program managers Paula Johnston and Bob Battistoni, ABCRC program technician Terry Lynn, center volunteers and service recipients.
Bridgman’s vision would feature a noon meal five days a week in the program room behind the resource center, a facility built with a California state block grant.
At this time, there is no existing funding for the meal service or core of volunteers.
“If my proposal is approved I will recruit local volunteers and maybe student workers who need school credit for food preparation and service,” Bridgman said.
As to the needed food and related supplies, she said she would be speaking with local nonprofit organizations, churches, businesses and contractors.
She also spoke about other programs that happen in Lassen County where the Crossroads Ministry travels to Little Valley near MacArthur to serve meals and visit with community members.
In speaking about further church involvement Bridgman said, “The churches in Susanville also take turns signing up to provide a Saturday evening meal and service.”
When Lynn pointed out that Susanville has a bigger base to draw donations from, Bridgman replied, “We have a lot of community-minded people — they just need a direction.”
Logistical challenges identified included the storage of food donations, meeting California state regulations for the preparing and serving of the noon meals in a facility without a commercial grade kitchen and whether or not this type of program would be approved for operation under the conditions of the funding grant.
Johnston said she plans to speak with Plumas County Environmental Health about the guidelines for food preparation and service. She also said she would be speaking directly with the funding source to see if the program was a fit under the grant specifics.
Continuing, Johnston said the process for the proposed food kitchen program at the resource center would include, in addition to information she would be gathering from environmental health and the grant funders, discussion and approval by the PRS board of directors.
For more information about the program services offered at the Almanor Basin Community Resource Center call 258-4280.
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