As we approach our Dine Out for Maple Alley Inn fundraiser in May, it’s a great opportunity to highlight the good that Maple Alley Inn does in Whatcom County.

What is Maple Alley Inn?

Maple Alley Inn is Opportunity Council’s hot meals program, which offers the benefits of a family meal to a diverse community every week. The service is operated by Anne Poulson, Sarah Yates and its very own team of regular volunteers. It has served healthy and sustaining meals since 1987 to people who need them. These meals are prepared from scratch by the volunteers and incorporate organic vegetables from the Maple Alley Inn Community Garden, which is also maintained by volunteers.

Who does it serve?

Guests include low-income families, people experiencing homelessness, veterans, isolated seniors, and individuals in recovery, and many more. The program also has maintained the meal distribution services it developed during COVID, still preparing and packaging meals for households in Opportunity Council’s supportive housing facilities and families staying in hotel sheltering.

Abundant leafy plants spring from a bright community garden, ready to feed those it serves.

The Maple Alley Inn Community Garden abounds with fresh leafy greens.

The doors are swung wide open to Maple Alley Inn, with the door held open by a smiling woman in an apron. In the background a group of volunteers in safety masks stands eager and welcoming.

A group of Maple Alley Inn volunteers and coordinator Anne Poulson welcome community members into the space where fresh meals are shared.

What is the significance to its guests?

The following are just a few examples of feedback from those eating at Maple Alley Inn.

I have struggled so much during the pandemic, lost my housing and lived at Base Camp, and now I’m in temporary housing. I felt so disconnected – but have found community at the meals here. I also really like vegetable and fruit, which they have here, and the food is so carefully prepared.

I lost my housing and have been living in a car – it’s hard to fix a salad in a car, so I love the salad here! I live mostly on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, because they’re easy to make, but coming here for a really good hot meal, made by a bunch of nice people makes me feel good.

The Maple Alley meals are a safe and appreciated way for a person who is down on their luck to get hot and nourishing food. When I’m there I see a number of homeless people, seniors, job seekers, people with various abilities, some addicts and some destitute; all receiving grace in a hot meal. Thank you a thousand times.

Visit for detailed information about the program.