The Table in 2013 – Expansion in operations

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While the Table expanded in visits, concern centered on the availability of fresh vegetables and related issues of funding. During 2013 these concerns were overcome :

  • On March 5, 2013 the Outreach Commission applied and was approved for a $7,000 Mustard Seed Grant from the Diocese of Virginia. This grant supports churches which expand existing ministries, such as feeding ministries.  The idea was to work through The Farmers Market Company to contract with one or more farmers to deliver about 300 pounds of fresh produce a week for distribution at The Table  This would allow a more consistent supply of fresh produce   “The dream of our program was to have the average grocery bag leaving our pantry to be  50 percent produce.  “:
  • The Mustard Seed program was summed up in early 2014:

    “We connected the manager of local farmer’s market and asked her to help us develop a fresh food source.  She in turn  introduced us to the Flores family, a three generation Hispanic farm family, incredibly hard working and struggling to grow their farm.  Our first meeting with the Flores family let us know that this would be a great relationship.  The additional funding our purchases would bring the family, they hoped to put in a college fund for their youngest child.  Having just purchased their first tractor they explained to us how they still plant by hand because they do not have the equipment to plant mechanically.  We set up a contract that allowed us to buy their seconds, produce that did not sell at the local weekend farmer’s markets at a reduced rate and they would deliver it.  They asked first to come and see the Table in operation so they would better understand what we do.  That morning was one of tears as family members recalled sharing single bananas between five family members while in Mexico. 

    “Over the spring, summer and fall and into the early winter the Table continued to buy from the Flores.  They were able to buy locally grown potatoes, kale, squash, melons, carrots, spring onions, Brussels sprouts and much more, all grown locally.  The cost of the local farm produce purchased came to .51 cents a pound.  Produce acquired from the food bank is free so between the two sources we spent $ .16 cents a pound on average for produce in 2013.  We will continue to work with the Flores family in 2014.

    “The clients who work at the Table were quick to return to their neighborhoods singing the praises of kale as an anti-inflammatory and apples as an aid for asthma.  Fresh kale smoothies and broccoli stir fry are being offered as samples to guests and nutritious lunches for all the volunteers have started appearing in the kitchen each Tuesday as a new ministry to the feed the “feeders”. 

  • The Table also connected with other businesses to donate food – Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, and Starbucks. Participants also connected with other. A press release summed this facet of the Table – “One guest, a native of Puerto Rico, helps the many Spanish-speaking guests communicate with volunteers, most of whom speak only English. A man with an infectious smile and a big but compromised heart takes his post by the door, making sure guests receive a proper goodbye as they exit The Table. Another guest, a grandmother, gives out baby food and friendly advice to the young parents who come to St. George’s in need of both.”

  • During Easter, through the efforts of Jan Meredith and her Chocolate/Peanut- butter Easter egg production, part of our feeding ministry, The Table, received over $3,200.
  • In March, The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock Region granted the church $2,000 for our feeding ministry, and following a multi- million dollar donation to this Foundation, the church was invited to apply for a grant from them with a top end range of $75,000.  “Ultimately we requested grant funding to cover a three year project in which we would hire a Community Fresh Food Coordinator.” They didn’t get $75,000 but through the Honeywell Grant received $20,000 in May,2013 to buy more food and connect with local farmers, offer an evening market and helped create a team. In September, 2013 they began operating evening sessions, offering shoppers the convenience of coming to The Table on Tuesdays, either morning or evening.

  • On June 9, 2013 the Outreach Commission received a congratulatory letter designating The St. George’s Feeding Ministries as a Jubilee Ministry of the Episcopal Church. This status reflected great honor on St. George’s with possible opportunities for grants (some of which we have already experienced) and assistance to help growth, but comes with responsibilities as well.   The Jubilee Ministry Mandate is “to be a joint discipleship in Christ with poor and oppressed people, wherever they are found, to meet basic needs and to build a just society.”
  • Table Stats in 2013

    YearAdultsChildrenTotalGrowth
    2008605575 1,180
    2009 1,321 943 2,264 192%
    2010 1,517 1,304 2,821 125%
    2011 2,558 1,772 4,330 153%
    2012 5,025 2,862 7,887 182%
    20135,543 3,173 8,716111%

    During the 2013 the focus in comparing years moved from bags to pounds distributed. This was in keeping with the change from a pantry style distribution (bags) to market style (pounds of food).

    YearPoundsCostPounds GrowthCost Growth
    2012 134,768 $10,583
    2013 151,066 $22,425 112%212%

    Financial Summary

    $29,000Major Gifts - Community Foundation, Honeywell Grant, Diocese of Virginia
    $ 2,684Christmas offering from 2012
    $ 322ECW Mary Faulkner
    $ 6,018Individual gifts
    $38,025TOTAL CASH IN
    $22,425TOTAL CASH OUT
    $15,600SURPLUS

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