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Our Table: Serving more than just food

Organization to celebrate third anniversary

PRINCETON — For the past 156 Mondays in a row, Our Table has been serving up meals and developing friendships.

On Thursday, Our Table organizer Jim Miller said the community meal outreach hasn’t ever cancelled or missed a Monday evening since the program began in May 2011, even when Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fell on a Monday as it did this past year. Of course, the Memorial Day holiday always falls on a Monday, but those meals go on as planned, he said.

Our Table was started as an outreach of the First United Methodist Church in Princeton for people who may be facing tough financial times or who may simply be lonely and wanting to eat a meal with others, Miller said. There is absolutely no cost and no suggested donations for the meal.

Miller described Our Table as a safe place to come, where people are served a great meal, feel welcomed and not judged, have a social time with others and hopefully see the love of Jesus in action. Typically, Our Table serves 140-175 people each week, he said.

Today, there are now 12 other churches, plus some civic groups, who have joined with the First United Methodist Church in providing Our Table for the community, Miller said. There are also several businesses, including Boggio’s, Walmart Distribution Center, Sullivan’s Food and Hy-Vee, who have been very generous in their support of Our Table, he said.

The problem of hunger is not a church problem, but rather a community problem with which the church wants to help, Miller said. Since starting the Our Table outreach three years ago, several other area communities and groups have started similar programs for their townspeople, he said.

However, more volunteers are always needed and welcomed at Our Table, Miller said. Other churches, groups and individuals are encouraged to join the community outreach and may contact the First United Methodist Church for more information, he said.

Looking ahead to the next three years of Mondays ... and beyond, Miller said “Our Table will continue until there is no more hunger.”

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