Shannon Brogan-Smythe (left) owner of Kalma expressed her appreciation to Susan Vandergroot, Township Mayor Jack Froese, Jessica Davis, and Superstore manager Joe Viana and his son for pitching to make the April community dinner possible. (Cory McClay photo)

Monthly community dinners expand to involve more Langley partners

Local companies pitch in to help keep a free event alive, one volunteer explains.

Pensioners, starving university students, single parents with children, and homeless in Langley all came together for a belated Easter feast this past weekend.

For months now, Kalma Family Restaurant (soon to be renamed Brogans Diner) has been hosting monthly dinners on the first Saturday of every month, with 250 to 300 people coming together to share an evening filled with food, live entertainment, and camaraderie.

This past Saturday, close to 300 residents participated in the free community dinner, said Jessica Davis, a volunteer with the project.

“Given the Kalma Family Restaurant is a small diner with an attached consignment store only a block away from Value Village, it is not exactly the most lucrative business venture in the heart of Langley… thus I have taken it upon myself to reach out to members of our business community to seek partners for these dinners,” Davis said.

Real Canadian Superstore was one of the first to jump aboard the project.

In addition to the Superstore donating 20 turkeys and a few dozen pies to the April 7 dinner, store manager Joe Viana, his son, and four of his staff turned up to help serve.

Likewise, Township Mayor Jack Froese – who through his family farm, JD Farms Specialty Turkey Store & Bistro donated several turkeys – was also in attendance.

“To have a mayor who doesn’t just [show] up to shake hands and say a speech, but who leads by example – in action and not just words…” Davis said.

“Both have committed to continue to support the Kalma Family Restaurant social initiatives in the future in various capacities,” she elaborated.

Safeway will be partnering with Kalma in May, and Davis said other companies, such as Save-On Foods have expressed interest in helping, too.

“It is such a privilege to be able to come together with local partners to serve our amazing community,” Davis added. “I am trying to find parters who can help cover these 12 dinners a year to offset the expense so that this social initiative can be sustainable… Together we are stronger.”

In addition to serving roughly 300 on Saturday, Kalma also had premade sandwiches for the homeless to take when they left.

The next dinner is Saturday, May 5 at Kalma, located in the Highland Plaza on 56th Avenue in downtown Langley City.

“These dinners are designed to offer nutritious meals and help combat the isolation that many secretly (or not so secretly) live in,” Davis said.

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The free monthly community dinners at Kalma Family Restaurant are being put on not only by the owners of the diner, but a team of volunteers and now several corporate sponsors. (Jessica Davis photo)

Shannon Brogan-Smythe (left) owner of Kalma expressed her appreciation to Susan Vandergroot, Township Mayor Jack Froese, Jessica Davis, and Superstore manager Joe Viana and his son for pitching to make the April community dinner possible. (Cory McClay photo)

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