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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Caught in the ACT

    <f Northfield’s newest social service efforts has inspired excitement and hard work among both clients and volunteers. The Community Action Center’s Thursday’s Table program provides a free, nutritious meal to Northfield residents every week. Meals are served between 5 and 6:30 under the supervision of volunteers from Northfield schools, churches, and colleges.

    The program began when David Koenig and Don Sahling independently decided on the same mission. They first realized that the need for extra services existed when observing the local Foodshelf’s expanding client list. They quickly coordinated the efforts of the Community Action Center, the Northfield Schools, the Senior Center, and various individuals to start their program from scratch. This collaborative approach has paid off, as the school district now offers activities for children and information for their parents.

    The program has been enormously popular. On its first night, the staff served 165 hot meals to community members. Attendance has been high ever since, and the program has been featured in the Northfield News and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The dinner has also brought together people from many different backgrounds and has even been used for dates by elderly couples. Its format does provide for one serious disadvantage-the program requires massive volunteer assistance to stay in business. Twenty-nine volunteers are needed every week to prepare the meal, serve it, and clean up afterwards. Though St. Olaf and Carleton volunteers have signed up to fill the void, there are always empty spaces available.

    Students who would like to volunteer for Thursday’s Table can contact Lauren Blacik at [email protected]. People who would like to make a donation can donate online or send a check made payable to “CAC-Thursday’s Table” to the Northfield Community Action Center, 1651 Jefferson Parkway, #HS200, Northfield, MN 55057. The Thursday’s Table website is, where groups or individuals can signup to volunteer.

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