Letter to the editor: Imagine if free lunch program in Norwalk was expanded?

By CHRIS GOUGH | Town of Ridgeville

It was great to see your write up on United Methodist Church in Norwalk and the excellent service it provides to the community. However, did you know there is also a small group on Mondays offering free lunch? Not only do they provide lunch, they have a science and arts lesson too!

The Monday lunch is served by the Ridgeville Ladies Literacy Society. Yes, you read that right. There is a group of well-read women among our little village who meet monthly to discuss at great length the latest in hot fiction. Besides questions and personal comments on the protagonist and his or her character make-up, there is also great discussion about the concerns surrounding our village.

Most of us in our group have seen the changes in our community over the years. We have witnessed the challenges not just here in our village but villages, towns and cities throughout. It is safe to say many times we have felt helpless and even powerless to do anything about it. We see clearly that hard working people are struggling to make ends meet. We know of many families who must work more than one job or shift to pay the bills. No family anywhere should have to choose between electricity or supper.

So we decided to do something about that.

We all need the basic requirements to live. All of us. A safe home to shelter us. Education and healthcare. Safe communities to live and grow. Love and peace, not to mention understanding as well as compassion for one another.  Last, we all need food and water to nourish us. 

There is a need not just here, but everywhere for free meals. If the need wasn’t there, we would not see these free lunches during the summer popping up in all the communities surrounding us. People are hungry.

To me, the first signal that summer is coming to an end is the Norwalk Lions Tractor Pull. Summer is not quite over after that; there isstill three weeks left for lunches in the park. If you count the meals served between the Methodist Church and the R.L.L.S., that equals six meals served. I challenge other churches and groups to come together and fill in the void on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. That would make 15 meals for the people in and around our community.It doesn’t take much: a few sandwiches, maybe some fruit, milk and a cookie, and, of course, a smile. 

I also challenge groups in our community to make a plan for next summer. Imagine what we could do if Monday – Friday found a free lunch program in our park? I truly believe it can lead to a stronger community and I wonder what other great things it could lead to. I like to think of it like one of my favorite childhood stories, “Stone Soup.”

Editor’s note: The R.L.L.S. serves lunch from 12–1 p.m. Mondays in the Norwalk Village Park pavilion.

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