Educator Carrie Walker works with students in Quilcene at the school garden, one of the locations supported by the Jefferson County Community Wellness Project. The project, which has its dinner-and-a-movie event Thursday, connects local schools, gardens and farms. photo courtesy Community Wellness Project

Educator Carrie Walker works with students in Quilcene at the school garden, one of the locations supported by the Jefferson County Community Wellness Project. The project, which has its dinner-and-a-movie event Thursday, connects local schools, gardens and farms. photo courtesy Community Wellness Project

Dinner and a movie to benefit wellness project

Project aims to provide youngsters locally grown food

PORT TOWNSEND — Homemade biscuits and cornbread, hot soups, salads with local greens: These are the fixings for the Community Wellness Project’s Dinner and a (Drive-in) Movie event at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Like most events this year, the fall celebration of the Community Wellness Project is reinvented. Formerly a big sit-down dinner at Finnriver Farm & Cidery, it’s turned into a drive-in party at the Wheel-In Motor Movie, 210 Theater Road, where there are 120 spaces for cars.

The cause for this fifth annual dinner is the same: providing youngsters in Chimacum, Port Townsend and Quilcene with access to locally grown food.

The Community Wellness Project raises money, then makes grants to the school districts so they can purchase fresh produce from Jefferson County farmers.

Grants of $6,000 went to the Port Townsend and Chimacum school districts in 2019 and 2020, said Kathryn Lamka, secretary-treasurer of the wellness project.

“That really does buy a lot of berries,” she quipped.

To have youngsters in Jefferson County schools eating local blueberries and other goods, the Community Wellness Project raises funds through donations and events such as the one this Thursday.

Tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for students and free for children under 5, and can be reserved at JCCWP.org.

Advance purchase helps the cooks plan for the right number of dinners, Lamka said. The multi-course meal is prepared in the schools’ kitchens, brought to the drive-in and served to guests in their cars.

Then everyone can settle in for the evening’s cinematic fare: short films about school gardens around the West Coast.

The Community Wellness Project supports campus gardens too. Students are learning to grow food at Chimacum Creek Primary and Chimacum Elementary schools, thanks to grant funding secured by the wellness project.

Yet another wellness project initiative: Little Free Pantries, miniature food banks available 24 hours a day. Locations include the Chimacum Grange Hall, Irondale Church and the Port Townsend Food Co-op.

In 2020, the project held an online auction that raised a decent amount, Lamka noted. This fall, she said, “we wanted to do it in person again, because it’s so much fun.”

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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