Prayers, food and connections were enjoyed by more than 100 people last weekend at St. John’s Presybterian Church in White Rock, where volunteers served up the 6th Annual New Year’s Interfaith Community Lunch.
The event is part of a community-led Interfaith Food and Clothing Ministry that has been serving food and providing clothing to the homeless in Whalley every second Saturday for the past seven years.
The White Rock lunch tradition sees families and volunteers who prepare and serve the meal also join those who turn out at the tables.
In addition to providing a place for people who may not have company over the holiday season to enjoy a festive meal, the program is an opportunity for younger volunteers “to learn how to connect with others without judgment.”
Children attend with their families to help prepare and serve the meal.
“They become aware of wider societal issues like inequality and they take this awareness with them wherever they go to lead meaningful and compassionate lives,” Arun Chatterjee, organizer of the 2016 luncheon, said in a previous interview.
This year’s co-organizer, Sonya Chatterjee described the lunch as providing “a safe place for our guests, who might not have company over the holidays, to experience new food dishes and make friends.”
“Volunteers get to work together and experience the diversity of religions and beliefs in our community,” she said in a news release.
It’s estimated more than 125 guests and volunteers attended this year’s lunch.