WILTON — A Second Saturday Lunch, a free community meal, will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Wilton United Methodist Church at 600 Main St.
The Wilton Area Food Pantry in the church will also be open to serve those who qualify but are unable to go from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The meal is a new venture by the Wilton Ecumenical Community Outreach, Pastor Laura Church of Wilton United Methodist Church said.
The meal was planned to start on the second Saturday of January but it was canceled due to icy roads, she said. Wilton Ecumenical Community Outreach plans to hold the luncheons through April and decide then whether to continue, she said.
Soup, bread and dessert will be offered. Church members prepare the bread and dessert, with each church taking turns providing the meal.
Churches in the ecumenical group include Wilton United Methodist, Wilton Congregational UCC, St. Luke’s Episcopal and Dryden Baptist.
Church also pastors the North Vienna United Methodist Church where First Saturday Lunches were started a few years ago. Although church members thought they were starting it so residents could save on food costs, “it became very clear early on that the folks who came just needed some time to be out and with other people. Some people come when we start and just sit and visit until we close,” Church said in an email.
Although Wilton Ecumenical Community Outreach has sponsored quarterly suppers in the past and tried a Warming Center, neither was “good fit for the community,” she said. Church suggested trying a meal on the second Saturday, similar to the North Vienna first Saturday meal, and the idea was accepted, she said.
It also provided a way to open the food pantry at a different time, she added.
Over the past few years, the need and the work of the pantry has increased. Much of that work was handled by just a few people and it was getting to be a lot, she said.
Realizing the potential for a “huge void” if one of those people stopped, Wilton Ecumenical Community Outreach, which shares responsibility for the pantry, formed an advisory board last fall, she said.
The board decided to open the pantry during the luncheon, Church said. Anyone planning to sign up for food at the Food Pantry is asked to bring proof of residency.
The Wilton Area Food Pantry serves residents of Wilton, East Wilton, Weld, North Jay and East Dixfield.
For more information, call 645-2190.