The Blackburn-Dennis Community Center, 208 S. 6th St. in Fowler, is a community gathering place for lunch. It is supported by community effort and volunteers. After the SAGE Services were discontinued as of Feb. 26, 2018, the community took over.

“Nobody goes hungry in Fowler,” said Loretta Vickers, who with her daughter, Cook Cheri Silcocks, keeps the Blackburn-Dennis Community Center running. “If they do, it’s their own fault.”

“When SAGE ran the lunch program, it was only for seniors 62 and older,” said Vickers. “Now anyone can eat here.”

The entire community of Fowler is welcome to eat at the Blackburn-Dennis, Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Food that is left over is frozen in individual meals, which are distributed to shut-ins or bought by patrons for the weekends. No choice is available for these meals, but tasty meals are a tradition here.

The cost is minimal, $5 for adults, $3 for 55 and older and five and under. Everything is on the honor system. A big jar collects the money and the diners sign in. Nobody who can’t pay is turned away. Second helpings are always available.

How do they do it? Everyone who works there is a volunteer, and that includes the cook, Cheri Silcocks. Silcocks worked as a cook for SAGE. Food and monetary donations are accepted, but all produce has to come from a grocery store, said Silcocks.

“Everyone [who works] here has another job,” said patron Jennifer Graft. “The only pay is a free lunch and community pride.”

“There’s a board to make decisions and set goals,” said Vickers.

Silcocks’ only guide for how much to prepare is the previous day’s customers. “I prepare for 60, but usually end up with food for 70,” said Silcocks. Nothing goes to waste, however, because the leftovers each day are packaged as individual lunches and frozen for use on weekends by shut-ins and those who would just like a lunch they don’t have to prepare."

First week of August Menu:

Thursday, August 1: Chicken/garlic gravy, bow tie pasta, corn, sliced apple and caramel sauce

Monday, August 5: Beef and potato casserole, bread, jello

Tuesday, August 6: Pork chops, rice-aroni, broccoli, birthday cake

Wednesday, August 7: Barbecue chicken, potato salad, funnel cake

Thursday, August 8: Sloppy Joes, onion rings, pudding.