Friendship Fridays was a weekly luncheon hosted by the St. Michael’s Anglican Church. The program gave the people of Merritt a safe space to meet, surrounding themselves with good food, and better company. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, this tradition had been put on hold for three years.
As Christmas Day approaches, the church looks to bring this tradition back, starting with a turkey lunch on Friday, December 16. People are invited once again to come through St. Michael’s doors and enjoy a meal with friends, family, and fellow Merrittonians.
“It’s a turkey dinner but served at lunch time,” said organizer Michael Furman. “We open up at 11 a.m. for coffee and tea, we serve the lunch at about 11:30 a.m. and it runs for about two hours.”
Friendship Fridays was an initiative that began in 2017. The program is funded primarily by the church and through some private donations. On average, the lunch feeds 60 people. For this upcoming return, Friendship Friday is prepared to serve roughly 120 people a ‘turkey dinner’ during lunchtime.
“This gives a place for people to sit and talk,” said Furman. “There were people who would come in at 11 a.m., sit, and chat for two hours.”
Furman noted that Friendship Fridays “foster a safe space for people to enjoy good company.” With Merritt having more of a senior population, he noted that the luncheon gave the older locals a break from the monotony of daily life.
“When we used to do it weekly, we’d get seniors to come down and be social,” he recalled. “It gave them a reason to get out of the house, and have some fun.”
Furman gives credit to the 20 volunteers that are dedicating their time to make this possible and notes that they need more to bring back the program on a regular basis.
“We do get volunteers, but its a lot harder when it’s a regular commitment,” he said. “Some of the volunteers in the past are not comfortable with large groups of people anymore.”
Furman also said that although religion is not at the forefront of this program, Friendship Fridays still begin with a prayer before the meal, and the church also has their services available for guests who are in need of it.
“We always give thanks before serving the meals,” said Furman. “We also did requests when people ask us to offer up a prayer for a loved one. This was usually done quietly at the table of the person and is up to their discretion.”
The church is excited to bring back Friendship Fridays and will look at the turnout of this coming Friday’s events as a reference moving forward to the new year. People are invited to join the luncheon on Friday, December 16, at 11:30 a.m. St. Michael’s Anglican Church is located in 1990 Chapman St.