Soup’s on for Election Day meal

MARIETTA – These days, “friendly” and “election” aren’t two words readily associated with one another.

But they still go together in the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church in Marietta, where for more than 50 years voters and candidates alike have enjoyed soup, sandwiches and more on Election Day.

“The community looks forward to it every year,” said church member Connie Norris. “Everything’s homemade – soups, sandwiches, pies.”

The luncheon serves as a fundraiser for the church’s Mission Commission, with this year’s proceeds going to the Latrobe Street Mission in Parkersburg.

Church member Helen Crago said the luncheons average about 200 people in attendance. But just as the turnout at the polls tends to be lower in a year with only city, village, township and school district races on the ballot, there may not be as many people at the church today either, said Crago’s husband, Dick.

“You get a lot more on (a) presidential year,” he said.

Whoever’s on the ballot, a number of them tend to make it to the luncheon, even though politics is not on the menu.

“There’s no politicking or anything. They just come in and enjoy lunch,” said luncheon coordinator Pauline Lee.

On Monday, nearly a dozen church members were preparing silverware, sandwich ingredients and soup for today’s event, which is open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and enjoying one another’s company.

“The fellowship is so important,” Helen Crago said.

In addition to ham, egg and chicken salad sandwiches, there will be five kinds of soup, as well as pies baked by about 20 church members. The price for one of each and a beverage is $6.

“You always get a good value for your money,” Dick Crago said.

People can get their lunch to go, which was a popular option when there was a polling place at another nearby church years ago, he said.

The church used to be a polling place, which is how the luncheon got its start more than half a century ago.