Michelle Wynne ran out of food stamps for herself and her two young daughters last month, so she took advantage of a new free dinner program co-sponsored by the United Methodist Church and Peace House Tuesday in Ashland.
"This really helps us out," she said. "We can get really nutritious food, the people are nice and we don't even have to do dishes."
Struggling families can take part in the Tasty Tuesdays meal program, every first and third Tuesday of the month at 4:30 p.m. at the church, 175 N. Main St.
The two nonprofits, which already run the Uncle Foods Diner free meal program every Tuesday, decided to start a dinner specifically for families after noticing a growing need, said Heidi Utz, program coordinator for Peace House.
"We know that there are a lot of low income families in the community and we wanted to offer them this option," she said. "We know with the current economic climate there has been a lot more demand from families at the (Ashland Emergency) Food Bank."
In addition to a meal, parents can socialize with one another at the gathering, while volunteers play with the children or help them with their homework.
"We can give the parents a break, and the kids can have some fun," said Dorita Borgerson, a church minister.
Organizers are especially encouraging single parents to attend the gathering.
On Tuesday, Wynne and her daughters, Jasmine and Mia, ate vegetarian pasta, carrot sticks and fruit salad.
"It is a very rough economic time right now," Wynne said. "And it's nice everyone can come together and help."
Contact reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-708-1158 or email@example.com.