Posted by Brenda Pollock on Aug 26, 2020


Biddeford - The Second Congregational Church, or "White Church", on Crescent Street in Biddeford leases their on-site kitchen to Bon Appétit, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve folks in the community since 1989. Every weekday, a group of devoted volunteers provide nutritious meals to those in need.

For more than thirty years, anyone with food insecurities from any area, has been welcomed to share a hot meal while building meaningful relationships with attendees and volunteers in the community.  Repairs to the kitchen facilities were essential for the organization to be permitted to continue to serve the free dinner service.

The Rotary Club of Biddeford-Saco learned of the condition of the kitchen and evaluated the work that had to be completed. Quickly, a Rotary team was organized by Conrad Welzel, a Rotarian himself for more than five of years, and within a couple weeks, he had a project confirmed and scheduled. Rotarians would commit to completing the necessary repairs that would permit Bon Appétit to continue offering its free meal program from this site.  

For two consecutive weekends, Rotarians of the Biddeford-Saco club cleaned, replaced, scraped, and painted. “There was a lot of labor-intensive work that was required to get the kitchen up to code,” said Welzel. “Our club is fortunate to have several building industry professionals who are Rotarians. They not only donated their time, they also donated some of the resources required to get the kitchen to more modern-day standards.”

Bon Appétit welcomes neighbors who are dealing with food insecurity.  Prior to COVID, meals were served inside the church by a group of dedicated volunteers.  Attendees felt welcomed, and were treated to restaurant style service by devoted helpers. “It’s like a big family here,” said one of the attendees. Providing a hot meal for those with food insecurity is important. The conversations around the table and the social connections and interactions are priceless. Since COVID, the volunteer group at Bon Appétit have been able to continue to provide free hot meals, however, they are now boxed up and are collected at the door of the Bon Appetite kitchen.

Bon Appétit Community Meal Program began with a Christmas dinner put on by members of the community who were concerned for those in need making it through the holidays. The meal was held at the Riverworks restaurant on Main Street in Biddeford in 1989. However, their job didn't end there.  After seeing the needs of the community, these dedicated community members sought to provide even more meals to those in need. Within a year, the attendance for the free hot meals almost tripled in size. Meals were served five days a week. 

In September 1991, the program began looking for a new space. St Andres Parish council graciously offered the former credit union on high street as a temporary home for the kitchen. Four years later, they moved to the Fremont Club where they quickly outgrew the facility. The Second Congregational Church became their new home and volunteers continue to feed approximately 65 people every day for dinner.

The Bon Appétit Community Meal Program is offered Monday through Friday starting at 4:30 p.m. The nonprofit receives their funding from the generous donations of community friends.

For more information on The Rotary Club of Biddeford Saco  /, or to support the Bon Appétit Community Meal Program, contact: or visit their website at: