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 :
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.”
Table Stats in 2013
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).
|Year||Pounds||Cost||Pounds Growth||Cost Growth|
|$29,000||Major Gifts - Community Foundation, Honeywell Grant, Diocese of Virginia|
|$ 2,684||Christmas offering from 2012|
|$ 322||ECW Mary Faulkner|
|$ 6,018||Individual gifts|
|$38,025||TOTAL CASH IN|
|$22,425||TOTAL CASH OUT|