On October 10th, we hosted our first ever inclusive community dinner with both clients and donors alike. We gathered around tables in the parking lot of our Progress Place building to enjoy a delicious meal and hear from Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Jamie Raskin on the importance of advocacy in addressing food and housing insecurity. Thanks to you, the event was a huge success! We are so grateful for the support of every attendee, every sponsor, and every member of the Shepherd’s Table community.
The event was a milestone for our organization for several reasons. Unlike any event previously hosted, Room at the Table allowed donors, volunteers, partners, and clients to meet and engage with one another. We are invested in cultivating spaces where everyone has a seat at the table, softening barriers between beneficiary and benefactor. Our hope is that each member of the community would recognize their important role as part of the larger collective. The work we do at Shepherd’s Table is fueled by the belief that all people have equal dignity and it’s the responsibility of the community as a whole to address inequity. We are always excited to offer a seat at the table to everyone: at Room at the Table, this became a literal invitation.
Attendees of the event enjoyed food cooked by our in-house chefs as well as dishes catered by Big Greek Café and Negril. We were honored to have Msgr. Eddie Tolentino of St. Michael’s Archangel Church, Rabbi Greg Harris of Beth El Congregation, and Imam Sh. Mohamed Abdullahi of the Muslim Community Center offer up an interfaith blessing at the start of the event. We enjoyed musical performances by Mammo Rossetti, a young flutist, and our very own Director of Special Programs, Christina Moore. Robert Moffitt, a current meal guest at Shepherd’s Table, powerfully shared his story with attendees before Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Jamie Raskin each took a turn addressing the crowd.
Additionally, the event marked a significant step in our new advocacy initiative. Throughout the rich history of Shepherd’s Table in Montgomery County, we’ve sought to serve our guests to the greatest extent possible. We’ve faithfully served daily meals since 1983 and look forward to doing so for decades to come. However, as we increasingly work with clients, we recognize that many of them face not only the immediate need to find food and housing, but systemic obstacles that make it difficult to rise above their circumstances. By stepping into the advocacy space, Shepherd’s Table hopes to leverage our audience to speak up for the vulnerable. Our staff are hard at work identifying the legislative issues that impact the lives of those we serve. We intend to use our platform to encourage the community at large to engage with specific issues, legislation, and other advocacy opportunities moving forward.
We are so thankful for everyone who played a role in this sold-out event, and look forward to future gatherings with each and every one of you.
Lastly, we’re like to thank each of our corporate sponsors: Discovery, Inc., GEICO, Adventist Healthcare, Kay Management, Montgomery College, NFP, C. G. Coe & Son, Inc., Central Maryland Eye Associates, Cohn Reznick, Elite Personnel, Finn Family Group, Lumix CPAs & Accounting, Resnick, Chodorow and Associates, Truist, Case Design/Remodeling, Inc., and Prudential Advisors.