Welcome Table

The Leicester Community Welcome is a joint effort from several churches and the Leicester Community Center to provide a free hot meal for anyone who want to stop by and eat. This free meal is funded by donations. Community residents are encouraged to come by for a great meal and some community fellowship.

Leicester Welcome Table

We all have good ideas from time to time, but for those ideas to take shape and achieve the desired mission, someone has to step up and take a chance.  That person has to be willing to accept success or failure in their endeavor, as there are no guarantees the idea will work.  Now for the rest of the story….

In 2010, the Leicester Community Welcome Table was the good idea and Alice Lutz was the woman on a mission.  Her mission was to provide a hot meal for the people in Leicester facing food insecurity and/or those who were seeking fellowship in a safe, comfortable environment.  So along with Betsy Mears and others, research, planning and meetings with others involved in ending hunger in Western North Carolina led to the establishment of Leicester Welcome Table.

As with any community service organization, it is the dedication and commitment of its volunteers that make it work.  The Leicester Welcome Table is coming up on its seventh year of operation in October 2017, averaging 25 volunteers who work each meal service, many who have been with the organization since its inception.  This volunteer work includes weekly shopping, preparation and cooking of the meal, setting up and cleaning the dining room, serving refreshments, and paying attention to the small details that make everyone feel at home during the meal.  As an added benefit to the community, blood pressure checks by a registered nurse are available each week during the meal.  And best of all, it is a group of volunteers who have come to lean on each other for moral and spiritual support, both in good times and bad.  One can say it is an extended family that can count on one another from week to week.

However, volunteer support is only a part of the equation.  A huge “Thank You” has to go out to the outstanding support of our local MANNA Food Bank, working under the umbrella of Feeding America, who provides us with free and reduced priced foods allowing us to prepare a hot, nutritious meal for our community. Lest we not forget, we are also very fortunate to have local farmers and individual community members who donate local, fresh produce and other items in support of the meal.  As we know very well in our rural community, farming is hard work and we thank our farmers for their support!  

Because of the support we receive from everyone, over the six years in operation, the Leicester Welcome Table has proudly prepared 42,800 meals.  In particular, last year we served 9,410 meals, registered a total of 4,583 volunteer hours, and performed 943 blood pressure checks.

The Leicester Welcome Table is a non-profit, non-denominational organization with no political affiliation.  All are welcome to come enjoy a good meal and fellowship each Wednesday at the Leicester Community Center from 11:30am to 1:00pm.  We appreciate and thank the Leicester Community Center for providing the space for the Welcome Table to operate.  The Welcome Table is funded by donations only, which allows us to offer meals free of charge to all who walk through the doors.  If you are interested in making a donation, please make your check payable to Leicester Community Welcome Table and send it to the following address:  Bell United Methodist Church, PO Box 36, Leicester, NC  28748.

Lastly, from all the volunteers at the Welcome Table, it is our honor and privilege to offer this service to the people of the Leicester Community.

2016 Volunteers (Photo)

Seated(L-R) Betty Reeves, Lina Yates, Sharon Grove, Betsy Mears, Barbara Gibson, Helen Mears

Standing (L-R) Ron Gorby, Bert Abrams, Alan Cohlmeyer, Marie Whitener, Marie McIntyre, Carol Bryson, James West, Brenda Walker, Carter Gorman, Yolanda Gibson, Phyllis Hutchins, Glen Littrell, Marjorie Icenhower, Larry McLoughlin, Wanda Gorman