Siler City Community Meal founders serve meals to health workers


SILER CITY — The founders of Siler City’s Community Meal program teamed with other Chatham residents last week to provide a warm lunch to employees at both the Chatham County Health Department and the Piedmont Siler City Community Health Center.

After three straight days of chilly, rainy weather — and tireless work by staff during the COVID-19 pandemic — it was a welcome gesture.

Gwen Overturf and Wilma Schroeder, the Siler City residents who created the town’s monthly Community Meal, were joined May 21 by Maggie Zwilling of Bennett, Donna Anderson of Siler City and Bob Schmidt of Silk Hope in meal preparation and delivery.

The Siler City Community Meal was created in March 2018. People in the Siler City community are invited to a free supper on the fourth Friday of each month. The event is hosted by Communities In Schools of Chatham County and the Peppercorn Coffee Shop at 138 N. Chatham Ave. in Siler City. The monthly meal is determined by a sign-up sheet where volunteers commit to a specific main dish/meat, side dish, salad, dessert or bread. There is no oven on-site to keep food warm, so volunteers bring the dish they signed up for: cooked, warm, covered and ready to feed 20-30 people.

When the coronavirus pandemic began, however, these monthly pot luck meals were temporarily discontinued. In response, Community Meal organizers decided to find a way to show appreciation for the employees of the Chatham County Health Department’s clinic and the Piedmont Siler City Community Health Center, both located in Siler City. The SCCM’s team was searching for a way to still serve the community in a safe way during the pandemic, and the solution — to deliver a tasty homemade meal and honor those in the front lines of local health care — fit within the group’s mission, “Breaking Bread - Building Community”.

Overturf and Schroeder hope the Community Meal resumes when it is safe to congregate.