By Lauren Sieh
The First United Methodist Church holds a weekly dinner on Tuesdays that is open to the community.
Tuesday’s Table has been providing a community dinner since March of 2009. The church will be celebrating their tenth anniversary of the dinner next month. The idea for a community dinner started 11 years ago and was inspired by a Kansas City organization that provided meals for their community.
F.U.M.C. is one of two churches in Winfield that still provide a dinner for the community. With the help from the church and government commodities, the community dinner is able to still serve the hungry.
The church provides a fund for church members and a few volunteers from the community to go out and buy fresh food items including, milk, bread and fresh fruit. Through government commodities, the church is able to order items with longer shelf lives, such as canned vegetables, canned fruit and other nonperishable items.
Men and women of the church and community help make the dinners run smoothly. There are four groups that serve at the dinners in total, one group for each week of the month. Occasionally, a month will have a fifth Tuesday, which requires a fifth group. When a month has a fifth Tuesday, the all-men group will help serve that week.
On an average night, Tuesday’s Table gives out around 70 servings, which is estimated to be about 50 people. Additionally, the community members who attend the dinners are allowed to go up for seconds and sometimes take home dinners. Due to the winter weather, the church has seen a decrease in attendance, which has decreased the amount of attendees to 30 people every week.
Susan Dean has been the coordinator for Tuesday’s Table for six months and has been a part of the community dinner for three and half years. She is in charge of deciding meals, figuring out what to do with all the access food and cleaning up.
When asked what her goal is for Tuesday’s Table, Dean said, “To provide this service, not just for the meal itself, but also a place to socialize. That is really important to some of the people who come. A lot of them and a lot of us, I am single myself, need to get out and around people.”
Beth Wilke has been associated with the church for 25 years. She is a part of the behind-the-scenes part of Tuesday’s Table.
When asked what her goal is for Tuesday’s Table, Wilke said, “Our goal is to provide a warm nurturing atmosphere and to provide a warm meal.”
The next Tuesday’s Table will be held from 5-6 p.m. Feb. 26 at the First United Methodist Church.
Lauren Sieh is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.