Breaking bread with Bread of Life community kitchen; free day-before-Thanksgiving meal

CEDAR CITY – Turkey and all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings will be served up hot and fresh Wednesday at 1 p.m. to anyone who is hungry and looking for a welcome, warm space. The free meal will be served at Bread of Life Community Kitchen, 2569 N. Freeway Drive in Cedar City, a transplant of the community kitchen previously known as Loaves & Fish, and currently serves meals twice weekly.

Kitchen Manager Roger Darger said the Thanksgiving dinner is a tradition that was started long ago, when the charity organization was formerly known as Loaves & Fishes Soup Kitchen.

New name, new location

Along with the organization’s new location came the new name, Bread of Life Community Kitchen, he said. The kitchen used to serve the public from a building at First Baptist Church, 324 W. 200 North in Cedar City, but Darger said he hopes to serve a larger number at the new location. The building they are currently leasing is an old restaurant on the north side of town near JR’s Truck Stop.

“We’re renting that so that we can have more flexibility and serve more days a week,” he said.

In the new building, the organization is able to serve hot, fresh meals to hungry community members twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., double the weekly meals it was able to serve at its former location. The week of Thanksgiving, however, they will only serve food Wednesday because they are expecting a large crowd, Darger said, and they want to give volunteers the holiday off.

Bread of Life moved its operation in July, and though there is more overhead to worry about now, Darger said, the space and possibilities have made it well worth it. He said the expenses are covered by sponsorships from several community churches, but it is hoped that more local businesses and churches will get on board with the community effort so Bread of Life can provide meals more often.

Volunteers, overcoming obstacles, donations needed

JR Day volunteers at the community kitchen. Since the move, he said, there have been fewer people coming in to eat, but he believes that is largely because the new location is harder for some patrons to find.

“We’re feeding about 35 people a day now, whereas we used to feed, like, 70 people a day  sometimes 100 or more,” Day said. “A lot of them don’t know where we moved to and I guess it is kind of hard to find.”

Day said the obscurity of the new location is only part of the problem. It is hard for some people to get to that part of town without transportation or money, he said.

“The other one was kind of centralized,” he said, “but this is way out on the north end of town.”

If the community kitchen could secure a van or small bus through a community sponsor, rides could possibly be provided to the kitchen and back from a central location in town for those needing transportation, he said.

The city recently added a bus stop near the new community kitchen location, and Darger said he is hoping once word of mouth spreads, more mouths to feed will attend.  For now, he said, he is just grateful to have the space to feed more people and the ability to be open more days a week.

There is a waiting list to volunteer with the kitchen, but volunteers are always welcome to add their name to it, Darger said. Anyone interested in donating or becoming a sponsor should come by on Wednesdays or Fridays when the public is being served so they can see firsthand what they are helping support.

So far, Day said, Bread of Life already has two turkeys for Wednesday’s meal that have been donated, along with the ingredients to make plenty of side dishes. He said they will make it stretch as far as they can, and he is pretty sure there will be more food donated before Wednesday.

To learn more about Bread of Life Community Kitchen, visit the organization’s blog or Facebook page or stop by the community kitchen during regular hours of operations on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Event details

  • What: Community Kitchen Thanksgiving dinner
  • When: Wednesday, Nov. 26 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Bread of Life Community Kitchen, 2569 N. Freeway Drive, Cedar City

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