After a long hiatus due to COVID and needed repairs for the United Church, the Friendship Lunch is back. It is open to everyone, regardless of their age or income. Youths from high schools are welcome to drop in, seniors wanting to socialize, and young families who are housebound with kids who are looking for a great place to let them run around in a safe environment while enjoying a meal and the companionship of various age groups. It’s open to those working in the area, looking for a quick, healthy hot meal.
The Friendship Lunch Program began in 1999 as the St James Anglican Church Hospitality Kitchen, with a group of volunteers from the Parish who saw a need to provide a hot meal on a weekly basis for both nourishment and fellowship for members of the community who were less fortunate. It was held in the former Leslie Hall.
Over the years, participation grew from about a dozen to an average of 50 on a normal Friday, and over 80 on “feast” days. It is now more of a community meal and has been renamed the Friendship Lunch. Once Leslie Hall was condemned, it moved to the hall at the United Church and now there are four churches involved, as well as community members not associated with any church.
The menu alternates each week between a soup and sandwich lunch, and a hot entree. On special occasions, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, a traditional turkey dinner may be available. A variety of desserts are provided with coffee, tea, and juice. The lunch is available from September through May on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 pm in St. John’s United Church hall at 400 Prescott Street in Kemptville. The church is fully accessible to those with mobility concerns.