INDUSTRY — The long, cold days of winter are a little brighter here lately as people gather for a community social every other Thursday at the Town Hall.
The event includes a free meal, conversation, games and activities. There's even Wi-Fi capability offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dates for the gatherings are Jan. 3, 17, 31; Feb. 14, 28; and March 14, 28.
The gathering started in November and may continue throughout the year, Lisa Mason-Tyler said. So far, an average of eight to 15 people enjoy home-cooked breakfast items or snacks, lunch and interaction with others. It's open to anyone, not just Industry residents, she said.
Mason-Tyler is president of a small group of residents, the Industry Community Kitchen, which formed last May to plan and fundraise for the social events.
Member Rosemary Frazier said she likes to do things for other people and thought it would be nice to help get some people out of the house during the winter. Her faith in the Lord guided her to seek other members for the group and turn the leadership over to Mason-Tyler and Frazier's daughter, Carolyn Boyd, who serves as vice president.
She now gives the mealtime prayer for the group along with serving the food, she said.
The fact that Meals on Wheels no longer delivers to Industry unless the recipient pays for it was also a factor in developing the community social, Boyd said. Farmington has warming centers, but there's little available to residents during the winter days.
The women chatted together in the town hall kitchen Thursday as the meatloaf dinner was being prepared. A second entree is available so participants have another meal option. Soups are also popular, Frazier said.
The women serve foods such as eggs, pancakes, muffins or snacks to the guests once they arrive, and also offer bingo with some small prizes and try to interact with them. The meal is usually served at noon. They pick up some residents and bring them to the town hall, Boyd said.
With the help of donations and the fundraising they did last summer, the nonprofit group started a bank account and have expanded their work to include plans for a community garden this summer.
Members of the Industry Fire Department helped rototill a garden patch behind the Industry Food Pantry. The details are still being planned, but some produce will benefit the Thursday socials and deliveries to area residents.
They are also pursuing plans for a boiled dinner fundraiser for St. Patrick's Day in March. The women held one last fall and raised about $600 for the project, Mason-Tyler said.
"We are thankful for all the community and sponsors' support that helped get the ball rolling," Boyd said.
Although the group is not sponsored by a church, Shorey Chapel and Pastor Lynda Giard help, as does the Starks Progressive Club, Hannaford's supermarket and Jarden's plastic cutlery plant, along with donations from individuals, including the gift of a freezer.
The group plans the events Thursdays, when the Town Hall is open, but doesn't ask for town support.
Volunteers and more members are welcome to join Mason-Tyler, Boyd, Frazier, Randi Smith, Phyllis Mason, Sharon Betts, Donna Churchill and Isabelle Luker to plan, prepare and serve the meals.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Industry Community Kitchen bank account at Camden National Bank may take funds there, Mason-Tyler said.
The meals are free, but some like to contribute, Boyd said. Their donations are accepted.
For more information about the socials or the Industry Community Kitchen group, call Mason-Tyler at 578-2297 or Boyd at 778-2401.