The winter months in Ashland can be harsh and unforgiving for those who don’t know where their next meal will come from.
Komac Tapp, known locally simply as Komac, has called Ashland his home for the past 47 years.
Every Thursday between about 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for the past seven and a half years, he has supplied a hot meal for anyone and everyone at the gazebo in Lithia Park, at times paying for it out of his own pocket. The motivation simple:
“People are hungry,” said Komac. “Doesn’t matter who’s got a lot or a little.”
The gatherings, known as “Komac feeds,” have become well known among those who attend, but it’s more than just a hot meal. It’s like a community picnic, Komac said, where people can talk, bond and understand each other.
According to Komac, a few local organizations have recognized the importance of the gatherings and made efforts to help donate to the cause.
Shop ‘N Kart, the Food Angels and the Ashland Emergency Food Bank are just a few of the organizations that have lent their support in goods and recognition. Those who show up for the feeds show their thankfulness by bringing what they can, whether it is spices, plastic silverware, or organic produce.
One local homeless man, Bob Hruzek of Ashland, has been attending the Komac feeds for the past six years.
“I really appreciate a bowl of nutritional soup,” said Hruzek of last Thursday’s black bean stew. “It gets better when you appreciate it for what is offered.”
All of Komac’s meals are homemade with healthy all-natural ingredients, such as coconut milk, cayenne pepper, olive oil, and various herb spices.
The spices in his soups are important, Komac said, as they “bring the color back to the body.”
The goal of his feeds are not just to provide a hot meal, Komac said, but also to promote tolerance and understanding. Just talking to each other, he said, can do wonders.
“The problem is right in front of us,” he said. “If everyone pitched in, I think there would be no needs to cause suffering.”
Komac is confident someone will take over the feeds when he can’t do it anymore. In the meantime, anyone who believes in helping others is encouraged to donate to the Thursday evening feeds at the Lithia Park gazebo.
According to Komac, the time of the gathering changes due to the seasons, weather, and other factors, but he will always be there regardless. Whether you have a lot or a little, he said, any donation is considered priceless.