Helping those who need it and encouraging community interactions are often considered noble goals. 

Over at the Swift Current Salvation Army, they have been achieving both those goals through their Wednesday Night Community meals for coming up on a year now, since pandemic restrictions were lifted. 

In charge of these meals is Arlene McKenzie, the community meal coordinator for the Swift Current Salvation Army. 

"I think the biggest thing is the people that really need the meals, take the time to come and tell us that they love the atmosphere," said McKenzie. 

While these meals are certainly a boon to those who need them, they are open to everyone looking to grab a plate. Often, folks come through to enjoy some company during mealtime, or to check in with other regulars they know will be there. 

These meals have, on average, seen between 85 and 100 plates served. Over the course of the year, minus the summer months and holidays when they shut down operations, that means they have served close to 4,000 meals. 

"We've done it, except for a short break in December and sporadically here and there, weekly since September," said McKenzie. 

These meals aren't achieved through McKenzie's hands alone. Helping to prepare the meals are four new teams of volunteers, each made up of eight individuals, who help in the kitchen. 

"They're here for three hours from 4:00 p.m. till 7-7:30 p.m.," said McKenzie. "They finish cooking and monitoring the meal. They serve the meals, and they do the cleanup."

Together, they manage to feed everyone who comes through the doors. 

As for the food, a lot of it is donated specifically for the meals, while some odds and ends are rounded up to even out recipes. 

Swift Current Salvation Army Lieutenant Bill Mailman has thoroughly enjoyed helping to monitor these events and overseeing implementation during the year. 

"I like to take my plate and try and sit with different people every week," said Mailman. "One guest mentioned that she loves coming because she can be herself, and she knows that people can come and be themselves too, regardless of their financial situation or their mental health, they can just come and be themselves." 

If you haven't attended a community meal yet, they are currently happening every Wednesday. They will be shutting down soon for the summer with the last one coincidently happening on the 110th anniversary of the Salvation Army opening up its doors in Swift Current on June 21.