Then & Now: Open Table

Hastings College students Ruth Swift, senior, (left) Drew Witte,
junior, Porche Parnell, freshman, (back right) and Emily Case,
sophomore, fill paper bags for lunches that will be donated to
The Open Table Nov. 17, 2011 at Hazelrigg Student Union.

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.”

To read more, see Friday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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