Sharing Food, Sharing Warmth

open_table5The holiday season is in full swing. As we move from one obligation and abundantly satisfying meal to the next, it becomes easy to take our comforts for granted. The Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties is helping to make sure our fellow citizens in need also experience kindness and cheer.

As part of our Healthy Living: Food Access initiative, we are working to help nourish our community. Recently several JLDOC members assisted Open Table Ministries in serving a pre-Thanksgiving lunch to Durham residents experiencing homelessness. More than 100 community members received lunch that was donated generously by Revolution Durham and served at Trinity United Methodist Church.

open_table1In addition to receiving a warm meal, these Durham citizens experienced fellowship and warmth in connecting with other community members. According to Open Table Ministries, many people who are homeless lack meaningful connections to others. The loneliness and isolation that often goes hand-in-hand with homelessness is a major barrier to overcoming this dire situation for so many people.

open_table2Statistics are notoriously difficult to maintain for the homeless population. However, the 2015 Point-in-Time (PIT) count conducted by the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness estimated the NC homeless population to be nearly 11,000 people, including more than 2,000 children under 18 years of age. Nearly 1,000 of the people who reported homelessness live in Durham and Orange Counties.

Lunches such as this one hosted by Open Table Ministries are just one aspect of addressing homelessness, but offering a friendly face and a warm meal can mean a lot to people who don’t often receive kindness.

open_table4If you are interested in learning more about the experience and challenges of homelessness, check out The Soloist by Steve Lopez.

What are some of the ways you are spreading kindness this holiday season?