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Next one due in April; date/location to be announced

Approximately 150 people attended the recent free community meal held at Thompson Elementary School's cafeteria and organized by the local nonprofit organization Neighbors Eating All Together, or NEAT.

On March 2, they enjoyed chicken shawarma, pita bread, rice and other dishes prepared by the Phinix (ghost) Kitchen of North Cambridge, according to Julie Lucey, vice chair of NEAT's board. (A ghost kitchen is a caterer that does not have a storefront and that therefore shares another restaurant's kitchen to prepare food.)

Nearly 200 people of diverse backgrounds dined Dec. 9 , 2023, at that NEAT event. / photo courtesy NEAT (Neighbors Eating All Together)

Organizers praised volunteer Judi Bohn's "crazy creative salad with homemade Dijon vinaigrette, made entirely with produce and other ingredients sourced from Food Link," a news release said. Coffee, tea, cocoa and assorted fruits and vegetables also came from Food Link, which, like NEAT, is based in Arlington and works toward food justice.

"The oversized Crumbl cookies were a big hit as always," Lucey was also quoted as saying in the news release.

NEAT organizers reported being happy to be able to offer teen volunteers to help escort several local refugee families to and from the meal and to have provided prepackaged leftover meals to send back with these families.

"Arlington Human Rights Commission member Sharon Grossman, who attended the event as a volunteer, was thrilled to witness the excitement and diversity in the room. NEAT's dual mission to combat food insecurity and address loneliness and isolation by bringing people together in community was definitely fulfilled on March 2," Lucey said.

NEAT states that it is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization dedicated to offering an inclusive and welcoming place in Arlington; it began serving free community meals in spring 2017.

For more information, readers may check out the website, follow NEAT on Facebook or send an email to eatwithneat at gmail.com to RSVP for a future free community dinner — or to volunteer to help at one.


This news announcement was published Saturday, March 16, 2024, based on information from and communications with Julie Lucey and Vicki Ford of Neighbors Eating All Together, (NEAT), an Arlington-based 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization; its website is Neatarlington.org.