, Salem, MA

November 28, 2013

Letter: Welcome Table served many

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Back in January 2010, a weekly community dinner was established in Danvers to serve families and individuals in need of some assistance. The name of the ministry was called the Welcome Table. For more than three and a half years, a nutritious dinner was served each and every Thursday night at the Maple Street Church. This ministry was started by Paul and Donna Pepper. Paul and Donna worked diligently to ensure that all the necessary items were cared for to establish this community dinner, as well as to enlist the support of the Danvers churches, town organizations and businesses. The attendance at the first dinners in early 2010 was very small but grew to approximately 80 people each week.

Unfortunately, these dinners were temporarily stopped during the summer of 2013 and, after careful consideration, are now officially stopped. This was a wonderful ministry, and the efforts reached much farther than the meals that were served. The Welcome Table Board of Directors would like to thank everyone involved.

Thank you to all the people who came to eat and share at the Welcome Table dinners. The connections and friendships that were made during the dinners will continue outside of the Welcome Table.

Thank you to all the volunteers who poured their hearts and souls and love into this ministry week after week for years.

Thank you to the Danvers churches: Maple Street Congregational, St. Mary’s of the Annunciation, St. Richard’s, First Church of Danvers, Calvary Episcopal Church, Holy Trinity United Methodist Church, All Saints and North Shore Unitarian Universalist. These churches were the first group of volunteers that assisted in the creation of the Welcome Table ministry.

Thank you to the local Danvers organizations and businesses: Polish Club, Danvers Lion Club, Danvers Rotary, Danvers Food Pantry, Danvers Kiwanis, Twin Oaks Nursing Home, Texas Roadhouse, Eastern Bank, Cranney Self Storage, Brightview Assisted Living, North Shore Women in Businesses, Job Seekers Networking Group, McKinnons, Sara Lena’s Bakery, Danvers Committee on Diversity, Sapphire Hair Salon, Danversport Yacht Club, North Shore Community Council, Danversport Neighbors, Sam & Joe’s Restaurant, The McKenzie Group, Better Built Construction, HTUMC and Vic’s Catering. These organizations and businesses volunteered on several nights to expand the groups who supported these dinners, as well as donated financially. The Welcome Table brought together people from different churches, organizations and businesses and facilitated our working together.

Most of all, thank you to Paul and Donna Pepper for their vision, following their dream of creating the Welcome Table and bringing all of us together.

We will miss the special ministry of The Welcome Table and all the generous goodwill it engendered with our Danvers community.

Patricia Chisolm

for The Board of Directors of The Welcome Table