Shepherd's Table volunteers recognized

By Vicki Hyatt | Oct 30, 2013
Shepherd’s Table volunteers were recognized Sunday at Maggie Valley UMC. Pictured from left are Beverly Ketner, Fred Painter, Rick Kelly, Dottie Horton, Georgia Painter, Gene Saxton, Dwayne Hawkins, Carolyn Garrand, Judi Ferris. Erma Bond, Emily and Ed Pirigyi and Debbie Sanders. In addition, there are many other volunteers, including those who deliver meals to those who are homebound.

Each Monday, members of the Maggie United Methodist Church provides a hot meal for those in their community who may not have enough to eat, or who need a bit of company.

During Sunday's service, the volunteers who have faithfully helped plan, prepare and clean up after the meal were recognized.

The dinner, which is served from 5:30 to 7 p.m., began in 2011 as the brainchild of church member Judi Ferris, who volunteers frequently for The Open Door soup kitchen in Waynesville. While she said she loved working there to serve people in need, she realized that there was nothing similar offered in Maggie Valley.

“I loved doing that, but it kept nagging at me,” she said in an earlier interview.

Ferris turned to her church, asking for support and help establishing a free once-a-week meal to be offered at the church’s fellowship hall and kitchen. The board immediately approved her request.

The ministry has grown to serve about 40 to 50 people at the Monday sit-down dinner and another 20 homebound people, who have a hot meal delivered to them. Each meal consists of a main course and several sides, made by volunteers in the afternoon and a dessert, made every week by church members.

Each meal starts out with any prayer requests, and there are usually several people who ask for prayers for themselves or family and friends who are going through a tough time. Once the meal begins, volunteers circulate through the tables, serving the meals, talking to guests and sometimes, just providing a listening ear.

For information or to help fix a dessert, cook or serve the meal, contact Ferris at 734-0156.