Becky Thomas and Zina Brown enjoyed a free brunch at Sabaku Sushi in January 2015. WabiSabi will be sponsoring the free or by-donation meals every Sunday from Jan. 17 through Feb. 7. [Moab Sun News file photo]

WabiSabi is getting ready to host its first Sunday brunch of the 2016 season.

The free or by-donation meals will be served at Sabaku Sushi, 90 Center St., from Jan. 17 to Feb. 7, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Seekhaven and Eklecticafe started the brunches in 2006 so that the community could have a warm meal during the cold winter months.

The following winter, WabiSabi adopted the brunches, and they have continued to be a community event throughout the years.

“The Sunday brunches were created to help locals through the lean Moab winters when much of our workforce is laid off or on reduced hours because of the seasonal nature of our economy,” WabiSabi South manager and Community Meals coordinator Holly Dinsmore said. “And it’s not just about the warm meal – it’s also a chance to feel the warmth of the community while the sun is low and the days are colder.”

Chef Kaye Davis will once again be preparing the WabiSabi brunches. Davis served WabiSabi’s 2015 Thanksgiving meal using all-local produce.

Local produce will once again be the star of these brunches, which will showcase potatoes, peaches, raspberries, zucchini, squash and more.

Davis said she hopes to keep moving the WabiSabi meals in a local direction to help support growers around the community, and to give the meals a stronger nutritional value. This past summer, she put in many hours to prepare and preserve the local fruit and vegetables for the meals so they can still be present in the winter months.

The brunches will continue to have the vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

“What Alex Yesian, the previous WabiSabi Meals Manager, and Kaye were providing for the community last year was fantastic,” current meals manager Colleen Jordan said. “With all of the dietary restrictions these days, it is great that we are able to observe those restrictions and still make a delicious meal.”

Community members cook, serve, bus and clean. Customers can order a latte or Americano from volunteer barista Charlie Bruce while they await their breakfast fare. These breakfast items could be anything from pancakes with apple compote, to breakfast burritos with local red potatoes, or even granola made with local honey.

Though the brunches are located in Sabaku, the sushi is on hold from Jan. 10 through Feb. 9. Jordan said that Sabaku generously allows WabiSabi to use its space so the brunches can be served in a warm and central location.

WabiSabi served its ten-thousandth meal at one of the brunches in 2014. This past Thanksgiving, it served over 725 people and has high hopes for the attendance at the brunches, gradually working toward the next meal milestone.

Jordan said that community involvement is vital to the success of the event.

WabiSabi is unable to accept food donations from individuals, as everything served must be prepared in a commercial kitchen. However, financial contributions are welcome and may be mailed to: WabiSabi, 160 E. 100 South, Moab UT, 84532. Gift certificates to local grocery stores for last-minute food costs are always appreciated. WabiSabi is always looking for volunteers for this and other efforts.

WabiSabi to host weekly meals at Sabaku through Feb. 7