PITTSBORO — For nearly a year, Cedar Grove United Methodist Church and Mexican food truck Ta Contento have worked to provide free monthly meals to the community.
Now, they’ve decided to kick things up a notch: this Saturday, Cedar Grove will host its first “Summer Fiesta” at 2791 Jones Ferry Rd. From 5 - 8 p.m., the Fiesta will offer live music, dancing and — of course — food.
Ta Contento, based in Chapel Hill, will cater while Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA) will also provide the church with some shelf-stable food boxes to distribute during the event for those in need. Much like the church’s monthly meal events, Ta Contento and Cedar Grove will only ask Fiesta attendees to pay what they can for the food.
The Fiesta will also offer live music: musicians Erich Lieth and Sara Vaca will play a mix of Latin and jazz music, while John Chasteen and Dudley Hiller of Box Turtle Rescue will play a set of eclectic folk music.
“We hope the event will benefit our friends and neighbors from across our part of Chatham County,” Cedar Grove UMC’s pastor, Danny Berrier, told the News + Record.
Cedar Grove originally partnered with Ta Contento last August to provide free or discounted monthly meals to the community, especially those laid low financially by the pandemic. Cedar Grove provides the location and funds while Ta Contento — owned by Nora Anaya and her husband Hans — serves up the food.
“We subsidize the meal,” Berrier told the News + Record in January. “So if someone comes in and says they can’t afford a meal, we as the church family will pay for that from some of the gifts that were given to our church.”
Unless there’s bad weather, the church hosts these monthly “Pay What You Can” events every second Thursday of each month between 4 and 7 p.m. — and they don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
“We’re continuing on,” Berrier said. “ … I don’t see us dropping (it) — plus, Nora doesn’t want to drop out. I don’t think we’re going to stop the monthly Pay What You Can event. This (Summer Fiesta) is just a supplemental new effort, and we may decide that we do this a couple times a year.”
Part of the idea behind the Summer Fiesta, Anaya said, is to reach more people and spread the word about their monthly Pay What You Can events as well as other feeding initiatives the church leads with the community’s support.
That’s why the Fiesta’s on a Saturday.
“It’s a really good idea I think Nora had, and I agree, you know, do it on a Saturday. Maybe a different group will be able to come,” he said, adding: “It seems like the last few events we did on Thursdays are — and it may be the timing — generally have diminished. We get maybe 30 or 40 total people coming through, and that includes 15 or so from the church.”
But beyond spreading the word, the Fiesta’s also about building community and “getting to know some folks,” Berrier said. He hopes to see a couple of hundred people turn out.
“That’s why we called it a Summer Fiesta — just a celebration of our community in our part in Chatham County,” he said. “That’s sort of what I’m hoping it will be.”
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Victoria Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.
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