This past Saturday marked an oft too unheralded event in the local Harrisonburg area. “Second Saturday Night Out,” held at Our Community Place is an opportunity to partake in a delicious meal, connect with and support an active organization and eat guilt- free. Much of the food is locally grown, either at OCP or at Our Community Farm and 25 percent of the profits are donated to Nan Boukan, a community in Haiti where “folks usually eat one plate of rice every other day” (http:// www.ourcommunityplace.org/events/ night-out/night-out).
Our Community Place, located on 17 E. Johnson St. is a self-described,“…community center welcoming everyone in the world. Our primary goal is to build community, breaking down traditional social barriers through cooperative community meals, shared activities, and work.” The center is one of three locations in a large local network of good works. Our Community
Farm, which provides food for meals at OCP, and local restaurant, The Little Grill, is a “Christian Work Recovery Community” centered around intentional living to foster recovery from addiction through traditional Twelve Step programs and “…fellowship, skills and sustainability training, personal growth, character development, and camaraderie” (http://www.ourcommunityplace. org/farm/index.html).
Our Community Works is yet an- other facet of the dynamic local network that provides landscaping services in an effort to support Our Community Farm and “hopefully help folks find work, job skills, sobriety, and mentorship” (http://www.ourcommunityplace. org/works/index.html).
Worship services are held on Sundays at OCP in the form of “Early Church” and on a daily basis the center is a hub of outreach activity and personal and spiritual growth for many in the area. Students from both EMU and JMU can be found frequenting Early Church and enjoying the friendly atmosphere of the space.
Second Saturday is an opportunity to get involved with the organization, if only for an evening. There is a $20 donation suggested for each dinner, with the option and encouragement to give more. The location is charming, as OCP is transformed into an intimate dining room, complete with fairy and candle lights. Guests are waited upon by volunteers and members of the network. The food never disappoints, as there are always seasonal and exceptionally flavorful menu options for the four course dinner. On Sept. 14, the menu included, “Tossed Salad with special grated Carrot delight,” the choice of Vegetarian Lentil, or Caldo
de Res (Spanish Beef) soup, three entree choices of “a Fresh Basil Pesto with Parmesan, Pistachios and Walnuts on Spaghetti Noodles with Garlic Bread, a Vietnamese Sampler including Chicken Fried Rice and homemade Spring Rolls, or thin-sliced Angus Beef with Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables.” Dessert was a choice of an apple turnover or a slice of rich chocolate cake, each with the option of vanilla ice cream. The service is always friendly and prompt, the food is great, and diners can enjoy the evening with the awareness that they are contributing to a part of a broader network of community service, outreach, and, essentially, family.
-Rehana Franklin, Staff Writer
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