Recorder News Staff
Montgomery County Allies in Prevention members served more than 80 people during a community dinner Monday night, which coincided with national Family Day.
MCAP Co-Chair Ginger Cato said the organization is not only focused on drug and alcohol abuse prevention, but promoting wellness in the community. Cato, of Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties, said this was the second year MCAP held the Family Dinner Night at the GFWC Century Club in Amsterdam. Event organizers said the turnout grew from the inaugural event, with more than 100 people participating including volunteers, children from Creative Connections Clubhouse and Amsterdam Explorers.
MCAP Co-Chair Margaret Clark said the dinner event provides the community with another protective factor to battle against addiction and health issues.
"We know it really does give our community a boost up," Clark said. "We want our community to grow healthier."
Cato said families eating together are more likely to eat nutritious meals, have a lower obesity rate and have children with better language skills and academic scores. She said teens who regularly eat dinner with their family are also less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
Clark, of HFM Prevention Council, said MCAP consists of a coalition of organizations, which allows for a joint effort towards to help strengthen the community.
"Not one person or one company can change a community," Clark said. "It takes all of us under the same common goals and mission statements to say, 'Yes, we can make a difference.'"
GFWC Century Club president-elect Kim Rogers said the club wants to support the community and bring families together, so hosting the dinner fits in with its goals.
"We just want to be here and host as much as we can for the community, and have it open for what their needs are," Rogers said.
Sen. George Amedore said families eating together is another important step towards prevention of alcohol and substance abuse.
"We have a huge problem in our communities with addiction," Amedore said. "I'm so happy that our parents, our grandparents and the family structure is being kind of rooted right here in Amsterdam."
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said getting together for dinner as a family can be hard with busy schedules, so his family designates every Thursday as pizza night and on Sunday mornings they have breakfast together.
"That way at the very least we spend two days together with our family, because it is that important," Ossenfort said. "It just helps get everybody close together and it's turned into a treasure that we really cherish in our family."
There was a salad served to start out the evening followed by pasta with meatballs. Finishing off the night there was a make your own sundae station with several toppings.
There were several children who came over from the Creative Connections Clubhouse to the dinner. There were also several members of the Amsterdam Police Explorers at the event, too.