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Wilmington's Northside community dinners aim to bring residents together

Northside Food Co-op staffers Alexander Brown (left), Qailinn Bowen (center) and Cierra Washington (right) grab art supplies to set up a kid's craft table during the October 27 community dinner at 1019 Princess Street.

The Northside Food Co-op is still working on finding a permanent grocery store space. But over the summer, it found a way of still feeding residents: with community dinners once a week.

The weekly gatherings went on from June to October, held on 11th Street between Princess and Chestnut. Volunteers and co-op staff come early to set up tables and chairs — and for their last fall send-off dinner, décor included pumpkins.

The community dinners are free and open to anyone who wants to enjoy some music and a free meal. The menu changes each week as new chefs bring different menus. Qailinn Bowen, the co-op’s Strategic Partnership Coordinator, says people of all different backgrounds show up to the weekly events.

“The turnout ranges anywhere from like, 80 to like 150 people," she said. "It's a lot. But I don't feel like it is that much, I think because people come out every week. And now they just feel like family. It's just like having a whole bunch of family here.”

This last dinner on Thursday, October 27 was the final weekly dinner. With the sunset coming earlier and earlier, there's just less time to enjoy together. But the meals aren’t going away completely in the winter: Bowen says there will be a monthly brunch to go along with one of the weekly market days, and a monthly dinner through winter. The next events are both at 1019 Princess Street: first, a dinner on November 17 from 6 to 8 pm, and then a brunch on November 19 from 10 am to 2 pm.

To find out more about the co-op, including days and times of future events, check out their Instagram or website.

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant on the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.