Chew on this

Thursday, December 6, 2012

When I first moved to Eureka years ago, I arrived in the middle of winter, right after everything closed up for the season. Although I did eventually find the first of numerous small jobs that led finally up to this one, there were many times when I was at the "digging for change in the cushions" stage of things.

Fortunately, for both me and everybody else in my boat, there was (is) the Flint Street Food Bank.

I was timid at first about going there, being new to town, but I went anyway and was amply rewarded for taking a chance. My timidity was met with a friendly hello from half a dozen people I'd never met before, but whom I came to know quickly through these regular visits.

My favorite meal at the time was their lasagna, though everything is cooked by volunteers, and the volunteers vary, as do the foods donated every week, and so there is always something new on the menu. But you can always look forward to a good main course, a nice salad and ice tea or soda and dessert.

All free, all dished up with a smile.

Dispensing free food on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and serving hot lunches Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 to 12:30, the food bank has been in operation since 1991 from its location at the Flint Street Fellowship at 33 N. Main St., behind the Grand Central Hotel.

It is run by Pat Kasner, a blonde-haired lady with a lot more energy than I do. Kasner said the food pantry was established by a Bible study group meeting at the church who decided they wanted to help the community.

The Flint Street Fellowship is not a church and not affiliated with any one in particular. What they do is exercise their faith in the most direct way possible -- by feeding people who are hungry.

What surprised and delighted me over numerous visits for those twice-a-week meals was the camaraderie I quickly came to feel for my fellow Flint Street regulars. While no one can live on two meals a week, I certainly came to look forward to spending a little time on those days catching up with a handful of people I came to know as friends.

And since the food bank gives out groceries two days a week, it is possible to take some of that generosity home with you. The food bank has gotten me through many, many hard weeks.

For those of you who want to participate, Flint Street is all volunteer, so all you have to do is go sign up. It is all a communal/community effort.

Flint Street is one of those things that makes Eureka a special place, more so even than its being a "getaway destination" or "the wedding capital of the South." It is a place where people take care of each other without hesitation.

It's worth checking out whatever your exact situation. And the food is pretty good too!

Donations to the Flint Street Food Bank can be sent to P.O. Box 323, Eureka Springs AR 72632

The Flint Street Fellowship distributes food from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays. Free hot lunches are served Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Doors open at 10 a.m. for coffee and cookies before lunch. Please call 253-4945 or 253-9491 for details.

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