Open Table On the Move
by Sarah Lichty, Director of Mission
The truck meant we could add more than one stop. We maintained our commitment to the guests we met at Parkside Park and Oak Terrace Trailer Park. Many of the guests there were integral in helping us set up each week, eager to help and to eat. We added a second stop at Eastridge Apartments and began serving a predominately Somali population. This a schedule we maintain today. As you can see, it didn’t take us long to spruce the truck up!
I am not sure we can say we have served 5000 different people over the past 5 years but , we CAN say we have served well over 5000 burritos to our friends and neighbors in SE Rochester. Over the years, we have built trusted relationships with a few of our regulars, and do our best to accommodate their requests. We routinely serve roughly 200 burritos per week.
This ministry is maintained by dozens of hard working, committed volunteers who consistently share their gifts , show up, and share the hope of Jesus with those who are hungry in our community.
Volunteering with Open Table has always been easy. There are jobs for everyone. Young, old and people from different faith communities come together, share their gifts and feed the hungry in SE Rochester. Camaraderie between volunteers is enjoyed preparing food in the kitchen or out serving in the truck. Relationships are formed over mixing cookie dough, chopping vegetables or rolling burritos. Out in the truck our volunteers have an opportunity to get to know our guests and learn more about the diverse communities in Rochester. Wherever you volunteer, smiles are sure to be found.
Volunteers are needed every Thursday beginning in the kitchen baking cookies at 2:00PM, until the kitchen is cleaned and truck is safely heading back to its parking spot at 6:30PM.
In The Community
Right from the beginning our fearless leaders have sought to engage us in various events. That first year we participated in a Back to School Event with Bear Creek Church and Oak Terrace management. Our consistent presence in the community has given the opportunity to be invited to other community events, introducing us to new areas and providing us with more opportunities to serve. For the last 3 years, Open Table has served over 350 people hot sandwiches at the annual Project Community Connect event each January. This event features services and resources from various community agencies for people who are homeless or struggling to make ends meet. It even includes free haircuts and pedicures!
Fall of 2019, we helped welcome students back to school when we partnered with Olmsted County to serve burritos for their Back to School Readiness event at Soldiers Field.
Come back for Part III tomorrow!
This is such a worthy activity and certainly helps fulfills the mission of Zumbro. Very impressive statistics and story. So glad to read the articles and see the great photos. Thanks you to all the volunteers and leaders. God’s work, our hands!