Group aims to build community with second free dinner

From the Register-Mail:

Dawn Harrison was busy at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. She had just finished cutting celery. A couple of cucumbers and yellow peppers awaited slicing.

Harrison was joined by seven others in the kitchen of the League of United Latin American Citizens on Second Street. They — and the volunteers setting up tables, arranging trays of cookies, cornbread and fruit — were preparing for The People in Galesburg’s second free community dinner. The dinner was from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and attracted around 100 people.

The first was Dec. 22, 2009, inside the Community Center on Simmons Street. That event attracted close to 200 diners and collected 320 cans of food for local pantries….

Organizers said they want to plan another event in May.

“How often do we want to this? As often as we can pull it off,” said Peter Schwartzman, a Knox College professor, community activist and one of the driving forces behind The People in Galesburg. “We decided we wanted to take this effort to the neighborhoods and we want to convince as many groups as possible to join in.”

Schwartzman said the goal of the community dinners is simple.

“Feed people. Really, in a town our size, there should be dinners like this all the time,” Schwartzman said. “This is a great way for people to maybe step out of their comfort zone and meet some new people in their community.