The First Congregational Church of Camden will once again host a community hot soup luncheon every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. beginning Oct. 30. The meal will be served in the church hall at 55 Elm St., Camden. The soup lunch features a choice of two homemade soups (one vegetarian), bread, dessert and coffee or tea. Diners are often treated to musical accompaniment from a variety of local talents. There is no charge for the meal, though donations are gratefully accepted to help defray the cost of the food.

To kick off the soup season, a “Soup Making 101” class will be offered at the First Congregational Church kitchen on Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registered dietitian, Jane Bennett, and Nancy Wood, chef and Nutrition Education Coordinator for Knox County, will lead the class on making soups that are both delicious and nutritious; attendees will then sit down to lunch over the soup that is made in the class. Jane and Nancy will also address the challenge of making soup in large quantities, which will be especially helpful to anyone wishing to become a soup chef for Soup’s On! If you are interested in attending this free class, please register by Oct. 15 with a call to Nan Smith in the church office at 236-4821.

The free lunch program was started by the Congregational Church in the fall of 2005 as a community gesture to fight the winter doldrums while providing a nutritious hot meal to those in need, those who are lonely, and for those who simply enjoy the company of others while eating.

During the course of 20 weeks, a crew of 18 volunteers served an average of 67 guests each week. Volunteers served as chefs, bakers, wait staff, greeters and clean-up crew. In all, some 70 people gave of their time to make the lunches a success.

The soup luncheons will run weekly through March 26, 2014. Due to the holidays, there will be no lunches served Nov. 27, Dec. 25, or Jan. 1. Any snow day cancellations will follow the Camden-area school district. Anyone and everyone — from all age groups and walks of life — is always welcome to share in the lunch or to help volunteer. For further information, please contact the Congregational Church office at 236-4821.