Manistee’s Community Table celebrates 10 years

Community Table celebrated 10 years of serving the community serving a free dinner to residents of the Manistee area regardless of age or circumstance Tuesday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the St. Joseph Parish Center. This cake was made to commemorate that 10th anniversary. (Courtesy photo)

Community Table celebrated 10 years of serving the community serving a free dinner to residents of the Manistee area regardless of age or circumstance Tuesday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the St. Joseph Parish Center. This cake was made to commemorate that 10th anniversary. (Courtesy photo)

MANISTEE — A notable volunteer group in Manistee is celebrating its 10th year of service this month.

Community Table meets at St. Joseph’s Parish Center from 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings to serve a free dinner to residents of the Manistee area, regardless of age or circumstance.

Staffed by dedicated volunteers, Community Table has received support from a broad coalition of individuals and organizations. Its present contributors include Trinity and Good Shepherd Lutheran Churches, the United Methodist Church, the Manistee Catholic Community, the Rotary and Lions Clubs, the Little River Casino Resort, as well as a long list of individual supporters.

Though many local citizens have participated in the sponsorship of Community Table, the enterprise began as the result of one person’s determination to offer fellowship and a shared sense of belonging to people in the Manistee area.

Creating a time, place and an event that would foster a sense of community was her goal. That person is Linda Holmes.

Love INC next took the initiative to contact local churches and civic groups, to explore the possibility of joining forces to build a sense of unity in the Manistee area, centered on a weekly gathering around a dinner table.

From its very first meal in September of 2008 until today, Community Table has used the dining facilities and kitchen resources of St. Joseph’s Parish Center.

Starting with 27 participants at that first dinner, Community Table saw its popularity grow to the point of hosting as many as 235 people at one serving.

The success of Community Table in providing a warm, inviting atmosphere for all is evident in some of the comments that have been made over the years.

One person said that, “the Community Table is the best thing that has happened here in Manistee. It really brings all people together. Whatever is served is delicious.”

Another person has remarked, “this is a wonderful service that all the churches and clubs provide for the community. I am grateful for it. It is a service that doesn’t get enough praise.”

Other comments include the following:

“I’m very blessed. I bring my three year-old granddaughter and she loves all the People.”

“Always a delicious meal. Thank you to everybody who provides each week. God bless your love for others and your hard work cooking and cleaning up to provide for many people. Great weekly social time with friends and others.”

“Community Table has been a lifesaver for me. It has helped me with being able to come and get a warm meal for free when otherwise I would not have had a meal at all.”

“We have met many new and wonderful people here and see people we normally don’t get to see. Thank you very much for what you do.”

Community Table has made an impact on many lives in this small corner of Michigan. It invites all of the citizens of the area to join it in furthering its mission of fostering community and connection for the next decade.

Between 10 and 25 volunteers help prepare and serve the meals at a Community Table gathering each Tuesday. If you are called to join them in this wonderful service, please attend one of the dinners and tell any volunteer that you wish to become one of the group.

St. Joseph’s Parish Center is located at 249 Sixth Street in Manistee.

Community Table does not meet during the weeks of July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, or when the schools are closed due to inclement weather.

 

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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