STRONG — The soup is on and the doors are ready to be opened for Strong’s new Community Table, a program to provide free luncheons for the community the last full week of each month.

The first meal will be offered from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, at the Forster Memorial Building, said organizer Michael Senecal, better known as Pastor Mike.

The meals are open to everyone.

“That’s very important. We had a fantastic cross section of the community attend for the meal and socialization,” he said of the five months when the meals were served at the Community Center in Phillips.

After losing the use of the center, Senecal, who lives in Strong but pastors an independent church in Unity, saw a need and wanted to continue. His church in Unity was prepared to give its support to create a meal site here similar to its site called the Open Door, he said.

He voiced his ideas and need for a place to start to a friend and town selectman, Rebecca Croteau. She suggested using the Forster building, she said.

“The lady that left the money for the Forster building wanted it used for that kind of thing. Something for the community … a building to help the community,” she said.

The community and selectmen have gotten behind the idea of the meals where neighbors can visit during the long winter days, she added. The board approved use of the building for free with some selectmen taking turns donating funds to cover propane gas use for cooking each month.

“We’re blessed with some awesome cooks, Gail Penney of Strong and Dorey White of Phillips,” said Senecal, who also cooks for the meals with his wife, Laila. “There’s been an awesome amount of volunteers offer help with serving and cleanup.”

Registered as a nonprofit with the state, Community Table purchases some food through the Good Shepherd Food-Bank. While the meals are free, there is a donation jar for those who want to give.

The menu for opening day, when selectmen and state Rep. Tom Saviello are invited, includes pork loin roast, potato, French onion soup, sandwiches and dessert.

Menus for the rest of the week are:

Jan. 26: Chicken potpie, chicken noodle soup, sandwiches and dessert.

Jan. 27: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, veggies, corn chowder, dessert.

Jan. 28:  Chicken Parmesan, pea soup, dessert.

Jan. 29: Baked stuffed haddock, potato, veggies, fish chowder, dessert.

Transportation for those who attended the meals in Phillips and want to come to Strong is being arranged, Senecal said. Takeout meals are also being considered.

The meals are held downstairs, and there is an elevator-type stair lift for those who need it, Croteau added.

The building sustained water damage during recent rains but has been repaired and the kitchen has been redone, Selectman Clyde Barker said.

“The Community Table appreciates the support of our town selectmen. We wouldn’t be able to do this without their support,” Senecal said.

For more information, contact Senecal at 491-5080 or 684-3356.

[email protected]

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