As weather cools, hot lunches return

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The “Community Lunches” at 18 Church Street look to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together for a meal, as well as provide warm sustenance during the cooler months of the year.

With the fall weather on the horizon, it’s important for community members to know where they can get a warm, fresh and delicious meal.

Rev. Jerry McKinney of the Granville United Church is excited to share that the free “Community Lunches” at 18 Church Street are back on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“As the fall begins and it starts to get cooler and into the wintertime, we wanted to let people know we’re open,” McKinney said. “There’s a real joy in knowing that you’re doing something that helps someone. We get so much out of it getting to know people.”

Although the idea originated roughly 12 years ago when a “stalwart” member of the church’s advent bible study suggested the idea for a free weekly community soup and sandwich luncheon, McKinney said some community members may not be aware of the event due to the stoppage that was enforced via the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The commandment is love your neighbor as thyself,” McKinney said just after kicking off the lunch which hosted an arrangement of two different corn chowders for attendees to vote on, spaghetti salad (a unique take on pasta salad), tossed salad, hot dogs and egg and tuna salad sandwiches.

“We love doing it, it’s another family. We really wanted a place for people to sit down with people they might not know and interact,” he said. “It’s hospitality, it’s free food, good food. It’s a time to be together.”

One attendee who wished to remain anonymous said they initially had trouble convincing themselves to go to the lunch but enjoy the weekly opportunity to connect with others.

“Now, I like it because you can eat, not be exposed to anyone and there’s no bill!” the anonymous attendee said.

Longtime volunteer Linda Aldous said the positive reaction of attendees is what draws her back every week.

“I get pleasure out of just doing it because it helps someone out,” Aldous said. “As long as I’m healthy, I’m going to come down and help.”

McKinney said the lunches launched again just after Easter of this year and immediately saw an appreciation of the fellowship of one another.

The lunches typically see around 30 to 40 members of the public of all backgrounds and ages come to the church to integrate with each other.

“There’s more than one way to feed people. Body is one way, but mind, body and soul,” McKinney said.