FARMINGTON — Temperatures outside remained in the single digits Tuesday morning while the warmth of fellowship and hot stews filled the hall at Henderson Memorial Baptist Church.

For the seventh season, the Farmington Warming Center is meeting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays at the church on Academy Street through Feb. 11. After that it will move to St. Joseph’s Parish for Tuesdays from Feb. 18 to March 25.

On Thursdays, the Warming Center is held at the Old South Congregational Church on Main Street until Feb. 27. 

“Many come for the puzzles and cribbage teams,” Anne Storey of Wilton, a Henderson Memorial kitchen volunteer, said. “It’s an outing for the day.”

All the food, which includes soup, bread and dessert, is donated by people throughout Franklin County, Storey said. She organizes the donations.

The donations feed around 35 people for free.

The day starts at 10 a.m. with coffee and muffins, she said. Participants visit, do puzzles or play cribbage. Many come closer to the meal time, she said.

Jo Bizier of Livermore and Becky Jasch of Farmington were making other preparations for the meal.

About 11:45 a.m., participants gather for a story and prayer before the meal. The story is from “His Mysterious Ways” and read by the Rev. Susan Crane, pastor of the church. The stories are not really religious but tell of God’s taking care of us in special ways, she said.

Crane was helping Judy Lagasse of Wilton find a new scarf and hat from among knit items donated by Janet Kennedy of Imelda’s in New Sharon. The items are there to share with Warming Center participants, Crane said.

Meanwhile chili, fish chowder and kale sausage soup simmered on the stove, with Ted Lefebvre of Strong and Wayne Holderried of New Sharon stirring it.

Each time he comes Lefebvre prepares a fish chowder while his wife, Bev, helps with puzzles and volunteers to clean up after the meal.

“The fish chowder has plenty of fish — haddock,” he said.

Last week there were six different soups, he said.

Leftovers were shared with those staying at the Western Maine Homeless Outreach shelter in Farmington, Crane said. Nothing is wasted, she added.

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