As Food Need Grows, Table Of Hope, Volunteers Serve Neighbors
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the Morristown not-for-profit has served more than 9,000 families with more than 22o tons of food.
Writer, Jeff Arnold, Patch Staff
Posted July 9, 2020
MORRISTOWN, NJ – When Rev. Sidney Williams founded Table of Hope seven years ago, he did so as a way to provide assistance to neighbors in need. Before this year, those who found their way to the not-for-profit organization seeking food typically were the homeless, people in various stages of recovery and others who couldn’t seem to make ends meet.
But as the coronavirus pandemic has impacted people across Morris County, New Jersey and the rest of the country, what need looks like has taken on a new focus. So as Table for Hope and other community group have partnered together to offer free food at distribution sites around the county, including Thursday in Morristown, Williams has witnessed local residents coming together to love their neighbors in meaningful ways.
That’s been the case since the pandemic began – a span in which Table of Hope has distributed more than 200 tons of foods to more than 9,000 families.
“We’re seeing people who are very unfamiliar with soup kitchens asking for help,” said Williams, the pastor of Bethel AME Church in Morristown and the operator of the Spring Street Community Development Corporation.
But considering the need that is becoming more evident, Williams has seen people from all walks of life who are volunteering at local events to help get food to those who need it most. More than once, Williams has witnessed volunteers come across people they have known for years waiting in line, waiting for food they can take back to their families as long-standing relationships take on a new dimension.
As Table of Hope travels to various communities, including Parsippany, where food will be distributed at Liquid Church (299 Webro Rd.) on Friday, city and civic leaders are constantly amazed by the volume of people who turn out. In boroughs where 20 people once waited in line to obtain food, lines of more than 100 residents are regularly forming for food distribution, which speaks to the new levels of assistance being sought.
“These are homeowners, these are taxpayers, these are people with some degree of stability that find themselves in the situation of needing help,” Williams told Patch on Thursday. “So what I see our role as being is to create these opportunities for people help their neighbors.”
The food that is distributed comes from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, but Williams has witnessed local residents contribute financially or with their time as Table of Hope continues to get as much food as they can to needy families. But the spirit of volunteers, some of which are picking up for seniors that can’t leave their homes or teachers who are delivering food to students, is what continues to stick with Williams.