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Charlottetown church hosts free dinner for students

by Nash Alonto

April 16, 2024


Gracie dela Rosa (left) was one of about 20 people, mostly students, who attended the monthly free student dinner at Trinity-Clifton United Church in Charlottetown on Fri., April 12, 2024. (photo by Nash Alonto)

Food was spread throughout the long table. It wasn’t a giant buffet, but at least was enough to make sure everyone was fed.


The food comprised of two types of chilli, meat and vegetarian, a vegetable salad in a wooden bowl, two types of bread rolls with butter on the side, and silver platter of cookies.


One by one, people started coming into the basement gymnasium of the Trinity-Clifton United Church in Charlottetown for the free dinner that awaited them.



Gracie dela Rosa was one of those who came on Fri., April 12, 2024, alongside her husband, Cassidy. She heard about the event from her teacher a day prior.


Dela Rosa, first-year Tourism, Travel, and Event Management student at Holland College, said she came to see how it goes, as well as to make connections.


For dela Rosa, the event was an “awesome” experience.


“The food was amazing. The volunteers were lovely. It was just like an amazing experience, it’s not just because of the food or the free meal, but it’s on how you make somebody happy (and) how you help others,” she said.


Being newcomers since late summer of last year, dela Rosa said they’re used to living on P.E.I., though it was tough at first.


“We (also) have a wide Filipino community here, which also helps,” she said.


About 20 people, mostly students, attended the monthly free student dinner at Trinity-Clifton United Church in Charlottetown on Fri., April 12, 2024. (photo by Nash Alonto)

Dela Rosa was one of about 20 people, mostly students from Holland College and UPEI, who came to the church. It was the second monthly event, the first was on March 22.


The event is a first-time initiative of the congregation, said Rev. John Moses, the church’s head pastor. Its main purpose was to connect to the community.


Rev. John Moses, the head pastor of Trinity-Clifton United Church in Charlottetown, said the purpose of the monthly free student dinner is to connect to the community, including students. (photo by Nash Alonto)

“We knew that some students, at least, a having a bit of a struggle with affordability – paying rent, having food – so, we thought that maybe a free meal once a month would be a help to them,” Moses said.


According to Moses, the idea of a free student dinner program came from the church’s outreach and service committee.


“They were looking for things that the community needs and ways to connect, so that was one of the ideas, perhaps, it would be a good thing to provide this meal for students,” he said.


The church is taking a break from the free student dinner program starting in May and is set to resume in September.

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