Chester Baptist Church offers some food and fellowship twice a month. The congregation has been hosting free evening dinners on the first and third... Community meal: Local church continues offering free suppers twice a month
Shirley Wright cuts cake before last week’s Community Fellowship Supper. (Caleb M. Soptelean photo)

Chester Baptist Church offers some food and fellowship twice a month.

The congregation has been hosting free evening dinners on the first and third Thursdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. from September through May since 1999.

This year the church decided to change the name from “companion dinners” to “community fellowship suppers.”

The dinners averaged 45 last year, but the church is hoping to attract as many as 75.

“We thought it would get more attendance,” Wright said, referring to the name change. She speculated that some could have thought that one needed to bring a companion to participate. That’s not the case.

The suppers are for any age, although probably 70 percent are senior citizens, she said.

Wright, who started helping several years ago, comes up with menus and themes for each meal and spends two days shopping and two days preparing for them each month.

Her cooks include Tanya Mahaffey, Lillian Massey and Sandra Bartle. Several men serve as dishwashers. Verta Blake helps by playing the piano.

“I just like doing something, and I like staying busy,” said Wright, a South Hill native who moved to Chester in 1966.