Coquitlam families find community in group take-out food gathering

Friday nights are fun again for River Springs neighbours who order from a Tri-City restaurant and set up tables to eat on their front lawns

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Can’t dine-in at a restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic? Why not dine-out with a dozen of your neighbours on your front lawn or driveway?

That’s what a group of Coquitlam residents are doing every Friday night in a bid to stay connected and support Tri-City restaurants.

While social distancing requirements are keeping people out of restaurants for now, take-out is still an option and for a group of neighbours living on Bow Drive and Flynn Crescent who’ve been ordering food and eating outdoors, dining together is making Friday nights fun again.

“People were bringing out their tables, chairs, table clothes, flowers, making it look like social distance fine dining,” said River Springs resident Jane Thomsing, who was one of the organizers.

For the past two Fridays neighbours, accompanied by their children and dogs, set up on front lawns or driveways to eat, share stories of the week and bang pots in support of health care workers.

Thomsing said one of the goals of the Friday night dine-out was to support local restaurants that are struggling right now and maybe inspire other Tri-City neighbourhoods to do the same.

The first Friday, food was ordered from Patina Brewing in Port Coquitlam to provide support to the new eatery and brew pub that launched just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to spread.

The following week, food was ordered and picked up from Jamila’s Kitchen and Grill in Port Moody, known for providing a free meal for those in need.

When the bill for 12 meals was paid, the Coquitlam resident who picked up the food received 20 vouchers for free meals.

Those vouchers will be put in the right hands soon, Thomsing said. 

“We have a social worker who works with families in need,” she added. “We gave them to her because we knew she would be able to find people who would appreciate it.”

But the dine-out experience is improving the lives of River Spring residents, too, she said, many of whom now look forward to Friday nights.

“There’s a lot of laughter and there are also tears and there is an opportunity for everyone to talk about their week and talk about how we’re all in the same boat.”

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