EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

March 17, 2014

N.H. churches offer free meals to needy, lonely

Free community meals network meets many needs

(Continued)

As many as 100 people will turn out for a meal, she said. The school is also part of the Community Meals Network.

The dinners are especially popular with senior citizens, many of whom look forward to just being with others, she said.

“They said they don’t come here because they need it, they come to get together,” Belinsky said.

The opportunity to socialize is also a big part of the experience at Sonshine Soup Kitchen in Derry, according to program director Christine Fudala.

Sonshine, which prepares about 55 meals five nights a week, also serves many senior citizens on fixed incomes, she said. Last month, there were 212 volunteers who helped out, Fudala said. In January, there were 276 volunteers.

Fudala said she enjoys watching the seniors get together.

“Many people come here and they don’t see anyone else in their daily routine,” she said. “It’s like a social hour. It’s pretty to cool to watch.”

Others members of the Community Meals Network include Church of the Transfiguration and Etz Hayim Synagogue, both of Derry.

They have teamed up to create Elijah’s Table, which offers free meals on Sundays, according to the Rev. Raymond Bonin of Church of the Transfiguration.

Approximately 40 to 60 people attend each meal, with some helping to prepare and serve the food as well, he said.

“There are a lot of people who come who are fixed incomes,” Bonin said. “It’s fellowship as much as it is need. We are happy to be a place where that can happen.”

The network also includes First Parish Congregational Church and Seventh Day Adventist Church, both in Derry.

Here’s is a listing of there upcoming meals:

West Running Brook School, 5 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday; Seventh Day Adventist, noon, March 23; Etz Hayim Synagogue, 5 to 6:30 p.m., March 23; First Parish Congregational Church, 5 to 6:30, March 28; Seventh Day Adventist, noon, March 30.

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