Last Monday night the sounds of lighthearted conversation and clinking dishes of dinner being served wafted out into the street through the open windows of the Minden Community Food Centre along with the warm aromas of authentic Thai food.
With the sun still shining into dinnertime on April 23 there was no sign of the ice storm that had cancelled the Thai dinner fundraiser the week before. Sixty tickets were offered for the sold-out meal the third in a series of fundraisers that helps shine a spotlight on area chefs while raising funds for the Food Centre and Minden Food Bank initiatives. Suwan Khamduang of Suwan’s Thai Cuisine was the guest chef volunteering and providing supplies to prepare green mango salad pad thai mild curry vegetables cashew nut chicken and deep fried bananas with vanilla ice cream to the packed dining room.
“There are two reasons for it” said Marilynne Lesperance chair of the Minden Food Bank. “One it’s a good fundraiser and two it’s an opportunity to introduce the public to what we do here.”
The Community Food Centre is used for school programs cooking classes and as space to distribute handmade meals to those in need on a weekly basis or throughout instances of disaster such as during previous floods in Minden.
“It feels right to do it to give back to the community” said Khamduang while keeping an eye on ingredients boiling away on the stove. “The community is good to me. It’s a very supportive community. I’m very happy to do it.”
Lesperance said Khamduang was nervous about preparing food en masse when she is used to serving more individualized portions but that she had already agreed to host another evening by the end of the night. Previous guest chefs took part in the fundraiser series from the Riverside Inn and Pepper Mill Steak and Pasta House.
The Minden Community Food Centre and Food Bank is always evolving with Joanne Barnes food bank manager securing new shelving helping to organize food supplies and preparing for a lift from the first to second storey currently in progress.