By Sue Tiffin
As chairs filled with people at the Minden Legion on Feb. 6 the room filled with the sound of laughter as friends got together or strangers became friends over bowls of hot soup.
The lunch was just one of several that will be served around the county – in Minden Haliburton and Wilberforce – this month welcoming one and all to the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Diners’ Club events. Though the group that meets is often made up of seniors organizers stressed that the lunch gatherings are really open to anyone who can happen to join that day. At the Feb. 6 gathering Ty Neville smiled alongside Grandma Jean Neville while he was off of school due to teacher work action and Jack Clement was lucky enough to join Grandma Joanne Barnes sitting with Marilynne Lesperance and Betty Mark while his parents were away on their honeymoon.
“Any reason to come out and have lunch Thursdays” said Kelly Harpley who sat with friend Beth Browning at the Legion lunch and said they join other events as well. “It’s nice you get to talk with people. It’s a social thing everyone gets out and you get to see people.”
“It’s nice to support the local events” said Browning. “You know what for soup a main course dessert 12 bucks it’s pretty good.”
The Diners’ Club began more than 10 years ago according to Nancy Brownsberger community outreach co-ordinator for HHHS. “[I]t began as a way to connect seniors in our community to each other through an inexpensive healthy congregate meal. The purpose of this club is to be able to get out and socialize with others. And as food remains the great connector it helps meet both physical and psychological needs of our participants.”
The program also serves to offer an opportunity to eat out for those who might be struggling financially as meals are capped at $12.
Grandma Joanne Barnes showed little Jack Clement how to cut grapes when he joined her and friends.
The Diners’ Club program takes place on the first Thursday of the month at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 636 in Minden where a home-cooked meal including dessert and beverage is served and the second Thursday of the month at Highland Hills United Church in Minden for a home-cooked meal including dessert and beverage.
On the second and fourth Wednesday of the month a variety of traditional Chinese dishes and beverages is served at Win Yeung restaurant in Haliburton and on the second and fourth Friday of the month a home-cooked meal including dessert and beverage is on offer at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 624 in Wilberforce.
A Roving Lunch Club also takes place with diners meeting each other at a variety of restaurants throughout the county for lunch with a set menu and fixed price (this cost varies from the $12 Diners’ Club meal programs).
To become a member of the HHHS Diners’ Clubs or for more information call Community Support Services at 705-457-2941 x. 2922 to be signed up for phone call or email reminders regarding lunch dates that week. There’s no obligation to join for any of the lunches though members are welcome to join at any of the locations.