Volunteers at Trinity Anglican Church in Simcoe are again helping area residents through their Caring for the Core community lunch program.
For the past six years, Trinity Anglican has held the lunch every summer to help feed area residents in need, with the exception of last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19.
“We didn’t do any last year, because of COVID-19. This year has quieted down a bit and we decided the heck with it, we need to do something. We are doing bagged lunches because we can’t have people come inside,” said Liz Russell, lunch coordinator and warden of the church.
The lunch program began three weeks ago and will run until Sept. 30. Residents can attend the free take-out lunch every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Before the pandemic, volunteers would host the lunch inside the church facilities and prepare meals such as spaghetti and lasagna for the 50 to 60 visitors to dine in to enjoy the hot, cooked meal.
This summer, the visitor count has gone down to about 30 to 40 people, but Russell is hopeful the number will go up as the season progresses
Take-out lunches include, egg salad sandwiches, salads, cookies, chips and juice boxes, which are all bagged and given to attending visitors.
“Having the food with the church has been a lifesaver,” said Karen Holmes, who has been attending the lunch on and off for about a year.
Originally operating with 10 helpers, the lunch currently operates with six volunteers in order to follow social distancing guidelines.
“I think the volunteers that work at this lunch get as much out of it as people that we are feeding,” said Russell. “It’s the get together time we don’t normally have and you see the people really appreciate what we’re doing.”
Although it’s unknown as to when the community lunch can be moved back indoors, Russell is eager to bring people inside and serve home-cooked meals.
“I think this is a blessing for them, they know they at least get one good meal a day. This really helps people who are struggling to stretch those pennies a little bit further, I think it’s wonderful,” said Donna Parrington, a counsellor at the Norfolk Association for Community Living.
NACL has been picking up lunches from various churches and distributes them to people in need around the county.