TABLE in Carrboro provides meals to more than 700 children in Orange County

North Carolina

TABLE in Orange County (Photo: Melissa Le Fevre/CBS 17)

CARRBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — It all started with a cookie and a heart for the community in Orange County.

Back in 2006, Joy MacVane started leaving cookies on the sidewalk for UNC students in Chapel Hill. From there, she left notes for the students with her baked goodies asking them to stop by her home to bake desserts for the local soup kitchen.

That was just the beginning. A love of serving and a concern for those in need then turned into TABLE.

TABLE has grown tremendously and is now serving around 712 children in about 420 homes.

As the Family Engagement Director at TABLE, Carrie Moses develops programs, plans events, and partners with families and organizations in the community.

Moses says that it isn’t just having food at the ready but having the right food.

“I would say one thing, or anything anyone needs to know about TABLE is that we care so deeply for the families that we partner with. We want folks to have culturally relevant food. It’s not just what I choose for myself. And so we want to have food that is right for the family. The family is at the heart of what we do.”

From fresh food from the local farms to the nonperishable staples, TABLE is ready to make sure their children have the food they need to focus and succeed.

“We have a lot of folks who come in for breakfast foods. Just be able to have a staple for the kids to start out their day with something really full in their belly so that their mind can be sharp and ready for school.”

Just like all of us, TABLE has had to make some changes and adjustments during the pandemic.

“We used to partner with the schools, but now with the pandemic, we partner straight to the doorstep. We send everything through our delivery drivers and they drop it on the doorstep, and they knock and they head out. And so it’s contactless delivery,” says Moses.

Volunteers are the hands and feet of TABLE. From bagging fresh food, bagging nonperishables to cleaning and driving-there is no shortage of community helpers. Moses is thankful for all the people who step up and help out.

“It’s awesome, and I know that y’all can look around and see all of these wonderful volunteers and just see how special they are to us. And when they come in, they have such a joyful attitude, and they are ready to serve the kids.”

Steven Esthimer has been volunteering with TABLE for years. He has seen firsthand the number of homes TABLE is reaching grow each year.

“I can tell that we are finding more and more people who are challenged with their ability to provide food, and so we’ve grown, I think, probably by over 200 deliveries since I started here. And there are many more that we could be going to.”

Esthimer has done just about every job at TABLE but is currently delivering food. He loves the people he works alongside and is grateful for their service.

“I like being here with the people. Because the volunteers are really good folks, the staff here are well coordinated. They’re really on top of their job, and I enjoy working for them.”

He knows that just because he must be socially distant when he drops off food at a home, it doesn’t mean he can’t still show he cares.

“But a lot of times, somebody will come to the door. It might be one of the kids, it might be one of the parents, and they’ll invariably holler out “Thank you!” And I don’t really need that, and I know that they appreciate it, but it gives me a chance to tell them they’re very welcome and that I’ll see them next week. And I like to be able to tell them that they can count on us coming back.”

TABLE not only delivers food but also have their doors open for those who need it.

“So, if somebody didn’t get food delivered to their home, they can stop by, especially if they are a first-time partner of TABLE, they can stop by, get a bag, and we work together and we shop the shelves. They can get whatever they need, if it’s nonperishable, or if it’s fresh food, and they can go on home with their emergency staples or their just everyday staples.”

At the end of the day, TABLE is giving families more than food They are giving them hope.

“We know that food and shelter are two essential things that people need. And TABLE I think is doing a very good job to help provide,” says Esthimer.

To learn more about TABLE and how you can help, head to www.tablenc.org.

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