Then: In March 2004, a collective of local churches and community service agencies decided to meet the need of hungry people in Hastings.
The Open Table sack lunch program was formed. Twenty-five meals were given away the first time and 83 were given away in April.
By the end of 2004, 500 to 700 meals were given away each month.
Now: As the organization has reached its 10th anniversary demand has grown significantly for the free lunch program.
Jill McMahon, Open Table sack lunch manager, said the program now serves 3,000-5,000 lunches each month.
“It really has grown a lot,” she said. “It’s just amazing, my gosh. I say that, but it’s also a needed program if it’s grown that much. The number of lunches we hand out has gotten bigger. Then also the participation from the community is really, really good.”