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Bell Tower Community Café opens Nov. 22

Food bank/café hybrid to provide unique experience

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Meaghan Pauls believes that combining a food bank and a café will create a unique experience.

JORDAN THOMPSON Enlarge Image

Meaghan Pauls believes that combining a food bank and a café will create a unique experience. Photo Store

A new food bank in Wolseley will also be a place to sit and socialize while sipping on a cup of coffee.

The Bell Tower Community Café will be officially opening its doors on Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The café will be operating out of the second floor concert hall of Westminster United Church (745 Westminster Ave.).

Co-ordinator Meaghan Pauls and director Greg Glatz were the masterminds behind the Bell Tower Community Café. Pauls describes the café as an urban food bank wrapped in a community café experience.

"We’re tackling the issue of food and hunger within a welcoming environment," Pauls explained.

"It can be very uncomfortable for people to line up for a food bank," Glatz said in a release.

The café is expected to run biweekly, on every second Friday. Winnipeg Harvest is one of the café’s many partners, and will be providing food hampers as well as ready-to-go food items for those in attendance. There will also be live music.

Pauls describes the café as an "urban food bank", which means it links back to the environment it is in.

"Our partners are closely linked geographically," Pauls said. In addition to the Winnipeg Harvest, the café has also partnered with Thom Bargen (64 Sherbrook St.) and Stella’s Café and Bakery (116 Sherbrook St.). Thom Bargen has helped out by providing coffee while Stella’s has donated some baked goods.

Pauls said there may be a chance the café will be open more frequently than once every two weeks, but it’s still too early to say for certain. Winnipeg Harvest typically offers hampers for people to collect every two weeks, so the café is following that model for now.

Winnipeg Harvest communications co-ordinator Chris Albi said the presence of the Bell Tower Community Café will benefit the community it is in.

"It’s nice to see things such as this opening up, because it allows all walks of life to participate," Albi said. "We want to have thriving communities that connect and help each other."

Pauls said creating a food bank in a café setting opens more doors than just a regular food bank.

"We want this café experience to hopefully allow its users to build connections with people and hopefully provide opportunities in some way without prescribing what is necessary. People can meet someone new while sitting with a cup of coffee," Pauls explained.

For more information about the café, contact Pauls at meaghanpauls@belltowercommunitycafe.org or call 204-250-6768.

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