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November 1, 2014  • 

TABLE’s mission is to provide healthy, emergency food aid every week to hungry children living in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina. Through its three main hunger relief programs – Weekend Meal Backpack Program, Summer TABLE and SnackChef – TABLE provides healthy food to hungry children and educates children about healthy eating habits.

It started with a cookie…In 2006, Chapel Hill, NC resident Joy MacVane began leaving homemade cookies on the sidewalk of her downtown Chapel Hill home for UNC-CH college students walking to campus. A year later, she posted an invitation near the goodies inviting students to stop by her house to bake desserts for the nearby community soup kitchen. A dozen students showed up to make and deliver cakes. They discussed how much they enjoyed serving at the homeless shelter, expressed interest in local community service and identified hungry kids as a special priority. MacVane shared that concern and learned that there were no weekly food assistance services specifically for children at that time in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. In late 2007, she and several of those original students incorporated Table Ministries, Inc, now known as TABLE. This nonprofit organization was formed to bring together UNC-Chapel Hill students and community members to feed hungry children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.

Since its start in 2008, TABLE has offered “a place at the TABLE” to increasing numbers of local hungry children. Thanks to generous donations of food, funds and time by campus and community supporters, TABLE’s growth has been rapid: In 2008, TABLE started delivering healthy food to 12 local elementary school children each week. By the 2013-2014 school year, TABLE’s Weekend Meal Backpack Program provided weekly emergency food aid to 226 local hungry children. That’s over 3 tons of food each month! TABLE is continuing to expand its programming to include kids in preschool, elementary school and middle school.

Beyond providing healthy food to participating children, TABLE aims to encourage healthy eating and expose the children to healthier choices. A model for community engagement, TABLE also brings together UNC-Chapel Hill college students as well as community members to prepare and distribute food, raising awareness about local childhood hunger.

Visit the TABLE website to learn how community members and college students are gathering round to feed hungry children!