Community Invited to Second Annual Free Easter Meal

By Lura Jackson


With Easter on its way, plans are already in the works in households around the community to prepare for copious amounts of eggs to be hidden and a feast suitable to mark the occasion. Some families in the community, however, do not have the resources to have a robust meal, while other individuals struggle with the profound loneliness that accompanies holidays. To meet both of these needs, “Grampie” Bill Gibson and his wife Arlene are organizing an Easter meal that will be open to the public at no cost at Second Baptist Church.

This is the second year that the Gibsons have coordinated a community feast for Easter. Last year’s event resulted in more than 400 meals being served on-site or brought to the homes of those who were unable to attend. This year, the Gibsons were uncertain of whether or not they would be able to hold the public meal due to health concerns, but they decided it wasn’t something they could miss. Accordingly, the two have been making the rounds to spread the word, including visiting with Calais Elementary School Principal Sue Carter to arrange sending a flyer home with each student. “We’re sending the letter home with the kids because one in five of them don’t get anything to eat,” Bill explained, referring to statistics of local food insecurity. “I think we’re going to get a good turn out this year,” he said. 

Even though the Gibsons don’t ask for donations, there are individuals that reliably offer funds, donations and volunteer. “People come forward on their own,” Bill said, praising the generous nature of the community. Among them are Eddie and Kathy Bell, who typically give a discount on the meats purchased during the events that the Gibsons organize. 

The feast this year will feature ham, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, dinner rolls, and beverages, all of which may be enjoyed at no cost whatsoever. Those wishing to share in the meal may choose to dine-in or take-out. 

Organizing a free meal for hundreds of people is not an easy feat, but it is something that the Gibsons find profoundly worthwhile. “All it takes is one individual that wouldn’t have an Easter meal otherwise,” Bill said. 

The meal will be held at Second Baptist Church in Calais on Saturday, March 24th, from 3:30 to 6 p.m. or until the food is gone. For more information, call the Gibsons at 454-8649.