800 roast beef meals served to Edmonton's inner city community

Hundreds of members of Edmonton's inner city enjoyed a warm meal today for what might have been the first time in a long time.

The event was part of Inner City Awareness Week

Volunteers at the event include city councillors, first responders and members of the Edmonton Eskimos football team. (CBC)

Hundreds of members of Edmonton's inner city enjoyed a warm meal Sunday for what might have been the first time in a long time.

Crowds of people were served a roast beef dinner at Boyle Street Plaza for the kick-off of Inner City Awareness Week.

Jeff Baker, Inner City Agencies Foundation co-chair, said volunteers were up early, preparing hot roast beef to feed about 800 people.

The annual event was aimed at raising awareness of the obstacles that inner city communities face, and to raise funds for those communities.

Inner City Agencies Foundation co-chair Jeff Baker says the event helps put people's problems into perspective. (CBC)

"These are poverty-related issues that they face every day: hunger, homelessness, mental and physical health issues," Baker said. "So it's a great event and that's what we want to do is raise awareness for people in need."

About 60 volunteers worked alongside local celebrity servers to distribute the meals. Roast beef was served up by city councillors, MLAs, first responders and members of the Edmonton Eskimos football team.

Baker said the event serves as an important reminder of the priviledge some Edmontonians have.

"You know a lot of us have stresses and things that keep us up at night," he said. "But I dare say for most of us, where our next meal is coming from or where we're going to put our head down to sleep isn't one of those stresses."

Organizers will host a mac-and-cheese luncheon on Thursday as part of the week-long campaign. It has raised approximately $2 million over the past 22 years.

Crowds of people came out to Boyle Street Plaza Sunday to enjoy a warm meal. (CBC)