It is quite common this time of year to hear ‘good stories’ of folks helping their neighbors or those in need.
Indeed, it is the essence of the holiday season, that those who have the ability, take a little time and help those less fortunate than themselves. And, over the past year, there are even more of ‘those in need’ than there usually are at this time of year.
With that in mind, the congregation of First Church of Winthrop, United Methodist on Winthrop Street, led by their Pastor, Alecia Reeves-Freeman, has come up with an idea to help out their fellow Winthropites in need, not only for the holiday season, but right through to the spring.
“Toasty Tuesdays” is a congregation sponsored volunteer effort to provide a hot lunch time meal once a week to those in town who need something to eat or a place to go.
“The idea really came from Pastor Alecia,” explained Wendy Millar Page, a member of the First Church congregation and a volunteer at the church. “The church has been receiving a lot of phone calls for help, from people in the community who don’t have enough money to buy food. So she put it out there to the congregation, that we could help out a little bit, by pulling together and donating soup, bread, cookies and sandwiches and try to give these folks a place to go, at least once a week”
The program just got underway this month, and so far the crowds have been a little light, but Millar Page said she thinks people might be a little hesitant or embarrassed to come in, because there have been lots of phone calls from people asking about the program.
“We’re just starting to get the word out through the other churches and congregations in town, and many of them have offered to help out or sponsor a day in the coming months, so we’re very excited about the possibility of really helping people,” she explained. “It’s hard to help all of the people who have been calling us to say they need help buying groceries, but this is a small thing we can do once a week to help just a bit.”
A flyer advertising the weekly events boasts “No Cost Lunch, Anyone and everyone welcome. No Preachin’, no teachin’, no judgin’, just lunch,” and Millar Page says that is exactly the point they want to get across to those who may be in need of help, but don’t know how to ask.
“Things are tough everywhere and we just want to offer a safe place for people to come in, get a hot lunch and maybe a little company or conversation, and then they can head back out again,” she explained. “We’ve had some interest from local businesses and markets, who are offering to help and we’ve even had residents of East Boston who have heard about the lunches call up and say they want to help, so people shouldn’t feel that we’re going to ask them a bunch of questions or make them feel uncomfortable, we just want to be there if they need us.”
Toasty Tuesdays will be held every Tuesday from December to March between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at First Church Winthrop United Methodist at 217 Winthrop Street. Anyone who wants more information about the weekly lunches can call Pastor Alecia at 617-846-0708.