Inspired by the September CCN article, ‘Hunger walks the streets of Red Lodge,’ Lee Merck, executive director of Common Ground, has been working with volunteers to fill the various needs of the community by offering free hot meals. With no strings attached, every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Common Ground invites everyone-- friends looking to socialize, busy families, single mothers who want a break from cooking, those struggling to put food on the table, senior citizens who enjoy company with their meal and any other community member who simply wants to connect with others over food. Located at the Legacy Lodge in Red Lodge at the corner of 10th St. and Word Ave., Professional Chef, Kevin Kaiserman whips up a hot meal that includes a variety of main courses from ham to chicken, with two sides, a roll and a yummy dessert.
The dinners started in November and on average about 45 to 50 people attend, but Merck said, “There are still a lot of people who aren’t coming who could benefit. We want it to be inviting for everyone.” Sponsored by the non-profit, Legacy of Faith Ministries and the Church of the Rockies, the dinners are informal and non-denominational.
“We don’t do a program or service. It’s about bringing people together over a hot meal and making those connections,” he explained. With music playing in the background, help from volunteers, and people enjoying their food, Merck stated, “It’s been a lot of fun getting to know people and it’s nice seeing people meet new people.” One attendee, Rob Seger who came with his family said, “I think it’s a blessing to the community to have this available. It’s a good thing for folks who really need it or who just want to hang out.” For more information, contact Merck at (406) 210-8677.