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Food Fellowship and Fundraising

Paula Bragg presents Zaida Bastos with a cheque from the St. John the Baptist Wednesday Lunch program.

November 10, 2011

By Simon Chambers

The Parish of St. John the Baptist, North Sydney, Nova Scotia, celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 1977.  There were many celebrations that took place throughout that year, including the beginnings of a Wednesday morning Eucharist service.  After the service a small group would stay behind and enjoy coffee and fellowship.  People eventually began bringing bag lunches, making a full morning of it.

Paula Bragg presents Zaida Bastos with a cheque from the St. John the Baptist Wednesday Lunch program.

This gathering then reached the point where people would decide on who might bring what the following week, with comments like “well I have some baked beans in my freezer / fridge” or “well I have some soup I’ll bring”.  The group grew in size, and it was soon realized that this Wednesday morning fellowship and meal was, for some, the only meal they ate all week with another person.  This fellowship was the only contact they had with others all week.

The idea and the gathering grew and flourished, and it was decided amongst the group that they should raise funds for a worthy cause, for the meals they received.   The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, which the parish had actively supported since its inception became the beneficiary of these raised monies.

This meeting group grew to include all denominations in the Town of North Sydney, raising significant amounts of money each Lenten season for PWRDF.  The gathering became the Parish’s Lenten Lunch Program and grew to include guest speakers on a variety of topics including the State of the Town address by the major or an available town counselor, the status of Marine Atlantic ferries that run between North Sydney and Newfoundland, health topics such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes, will preparation, planned giving and living wills.

The Lenten Lunch Program now averages 115 people per week, still on Wednesdays, and raises an average of $250 per week for each Wednesday during Lent, each year.  To date, over 33 years, the Lenten Lunches have raised over $45,000 for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, and the giving continues !

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