Luncheon builds community for 47 years, with soup and pie

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Dave Peck of Danville ladels up quarts of vegetable soup at the weekly Kenten Soup Sale and Luncheon at the Church of Our Savior Episcopal church at 31 North Loyalsock Ave. in Montoursville on Thursday March 21, 2019. The weekly lenten luncheon features hot dogs, homemade barbque and vegetable soup on Thursday's from 11am-1pm.

MONTOURSVILLE – A familiar sight along Loyalsock Avenue in Montoursville in late winter is a sign that appears just before the season of Lent begins: it announces that the soup luncheons at the Church of Our Savior Episcopal are set to begin after Ash Wednesday.

“People look forward to the sign,” said Mary Ann Peck, who is in charge of the luncheons.

Every Thursday throughout Lent, volunteers from the church plus others from Montoursville Presbyterian Church serve homemade vegetable soup, hot dogs and homemade pie. Peck said people really look forward to the pie.

“They walk in the door and get their pie and sit down,” she said.

The pies, of course, also are homemade by church members and friends of church members. For the last luncheon Peck said 26 pies were donated.

She noted that some people make four or five pies.

The church began offering the luncheons 47 years ago and has been serving them ever since.

At that time, Peck said, the parish priest was very active and wanted a way to serve the community. Today, the congregation is small, but with help from people around the community, the tradition survives.

“We couldn’t do it without their help,” she added.

Peck noted that on average they serve between 130 to 150 people a week, not counting take-out meals.

“We serve a lot of take-outs,” she said. “My husband delivers soup around town.”

Every year, familiar faces come for food and fellowship.

“We see the same people year after year,” Peck said. “It’s an event. People come in and sit and chat.”

Community is shared over a cup of soup and, of course, a piece of homemade pie.