WILTON — As participants in Wilton’s new Warming Center slowly trickled in Wednesday morning, they were met by friendly volunteers from Wilton Congregational Church offering coffee, homemade cookies and lunch.

“I think this is a great thing. We have a wonderful time,” said Ruth Evans of Wilton as she brought out a cell phone. “Think I’ll call some friends and have them come meet me for coffee.”

Evans and her husband, Glen, attended the opening of the center in Wilton on Monday.

The center will be open two days a week, Monday and Wednesday, in January and March and on Monday and Thursday in February from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

During January, the center will be held at the Wilton Congregational Church then St. Luke’s Episcopal in February and in March, Wilton United Methodist Church will host the center at the Masonic Lodge SeniorsPlus Meals site on Bryant Road.

The center is based on one started by Farmington churches last January when fuel prices were higher and participants were encouraged to save on fuel costs by turning down their home thermostats and taking advantage of the warmth provided by the centers.

Participants realized more than physical warmth as they found a place to socialize, read, play games or work on a favorite craft.

“It’s the warmth of human contact that is warming,” Evans said. The couple attended the one held at Henderson Memorial Baptist Church in Farmington a couple times last January when it was first starting. “There were few people at first but it was wonderful. That’s why I’m so enthusiastic about this.”

Dawn Girardin, Mission Board chair, and Mira Coleman, both members of Wilton Congregational, were two of those staffing the center Wednesday providing hot coffee and snacks and free hot soup throughout the day. A hot noon meal is provided by SeniorsPlus with monetary donations accepted.

Card tables with games and puzzles, comfortable chairs were scattered around the church hall.

“It’s about socialization — getting out and chit-chatting,” Girardin said.

A sewing machine sits off to the side. Someone will be available on Wednesday afternoons to do basic mending to help those attending, she said.

There is one need though, she said, and that’s for more volunteers.

The Wilton Warming Centers project is sponsored by the churches of Wilton Ecumenical Outreach Ministry and SeniorsPlus. The center serves the communities of Wilton, East Wilton, North Jay, East Dixfield and Weld but all are welcome whether they reside in these or other communities, Pastor Doug Dunlap said previously.

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Ferna Girardin, Mary Farnum, Calvin Sewall and George Farnum enjoy cookies and coffee Wednesday at the Wilton Warming Center held this month at Wilton Congregational Church.

Calvin Sewall, George Farnum, Ferna Girardin and Mary Farnum enjoy
cookies and coffee Wednesday at the Wilton Warming Center held this
month at Wilton Congregational Church.

Mary Farnum and Ferna Girardin sign in at the Wilton Warming Center Wednesday morning with Mira Coleman at the WIlton Congregational Church. Calvin Sewall and George Farnum come in  behind them.

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