Dinner for a Dollar at Hamden Episcopal church celebrates first anniversary

HAMDEN — For the past year, “Dinner for a Dollar,” the Friday night dinner ministry of Grace and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, has served a warm, nutritious meal, in a welcoming environment, to all members of the greater Hamden community once every week for a suggested donation of $1.

Dinner for a Dollar is organized by Allison Batson, a parishioner at Grace and St. Peter’s. The program started last year with the guidance of the Rev. Matt Lincoln, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, North Haven, and Joan Hunt, community supper coordinator at St. John’s.

Grace and St. Peter’s parishioners not only cook the meals but also attend the weekly dinners, to serve as hosts to our guests from the outlying community, providing fellowship during the meal. All people are welcome, all people are accepted, and all people are treated with dignity.

The meals are cooked in the church kitchen by volunteer members of the parish, who plan the menu, shop for the food, and prepare and serve it. This dinner ministry fills a void for many of the people from the broader community. Many experience financial poverty and the poverty of loneliness, in a community where poverty of any kind is usually hidden.

Dinner for a Dollar feeds about 35 people a week, most of whom are non-parishioners. Many people, from different walks of life, come every week and look forward to this opportunity for a warm, home-cooked meal and the company of others at the dinner each Friday night. Some live in the nearby subsidized senior housing. Some are homeless and/or very poor. Some people come who are financially comfortable, but simply enjoy the food or being with other people at the dinner, or perhaps just receiving a meal without having to cook or do dishes.

A solid community is building up around this weekly meal, with people looking forward to seeing each other week to week, and many, including non-parishioners, taking on roles of extending hospitality to others.

Grace and St. Peter’s wants to thank everyone, volunteers and diners alike, for making this program such a great success and welcomes the whole community to join in the weekly dinners.