WESTPORT, Conn. — For the first time in 40 years, Westport’s Saugatuck Congregational Church will not be hosting its annual Christmas Day Community Feast, as a suitable venue for the event was not available. But, thanks to help from town officials, the church will still be able to spread Christmas cheer this holiday.
Instead of a feast, Saugatuck Church is organizing a Christmas Day Community Open House from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Westport Senior Center featuring live music, baked goods and refreshments. The event — being co-sponsored by Temple Israel — is free and open to all, said Frank Basler, chairman of the Saugatuck Church Mission Board.
“We thought we weren’t going to be able to do anything this year,” Basler said. “Then, at the last minute, Barbara Butler, head of the Human Services Department, and Jeff Wieser of Homes With Hope worked out an arraignment with the senior center allowing us to have this no-cook open house.”
Since Saugatuck Church was devastated by a pre-Thanksgiving fire two years ago, both the Thanksgiving and Christmas Day feasts have been held at nearby Christ & Holy Trinity Church. The hall at Christ & Holy Trinity was, however, unavailable for this year’s Christmas Day feast, Basler said.
“Christmas is a day to gather and share fellowship with each other and so we are delighted to be working with our community partners to hold this event,” Basler said. “We also look forward to hosting a Christmas Feast in 2014, hopefully in our own rebuilt building."
In order to make the Open House a success, Basler said volunteers are needed to staff the event. Specifically, the church is seeking people to help set up and decorate the space, serve food, greet guests, drive guests to/from the event, and clean up. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign-up online.
Basler said people can also help by donating store bought, nut-free baked goods and appetizers — like fruit, vegetable and cheese platters. Residents interested in donating food should sign-up here.
Like the community feasts, people from all walks of life are welcome to the Open House, Basler said.
“Everyone can come. From folks who are alone at Christmas, to people who are new in town,” he said. “The great thing about these events is the mix of people who show up.”
The senior center is at 21 Imperial Ave. Residents interested in attending the Open House who are in need of transportation should call Saugatuck Congregational Church at 203-227-1261 to arrange a ride.