The smell of bar-b-que ribs, corn on the cob and corn muffins, and cinnamon butter filled the dining room as Shepherd’s Table board members served dinner Thursday, the 38th anniversary of the Silver Spring organization dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness.
Cooking and dishing out 100 to 140 meals, three times a day on weekdays and twice on weekends, Shepherd’s Table has continuously served these needed meals since 1983. In celebration, they delivered Woody West their two millionth meal with great fanfare.
“Shepherd’s Table, located in Silver Spring, means to me a place to live, security, a place to sleep, a home away from home that you lost,” West said.
Shepherd’s Table, located in Progress Place on Georgia Avenue, began as a soup kitchen in a small house and was supported by 15 nearby congregations. Since then, services have expanded to include eye exams and glasses, a resource center that enables clients to have a mailing address, telephone, and many other services.
Executive Director Manny Hidalgo smiled the whole evening, “In 38 years, we’ve never, ever missed a meal.”
It is funded by the county, Maryland Emergency Food Program, and private donations. All the chefs have restaurant experience. “The goal is always restaurant-like quality,” explained communications associate Holly Harris.
Bobby Smith has been coming every day for about a month and a half, and said Shepherd’s Table “is very important.” As he ate his meal, he declared, “It’s all looking up for me.”
He was recently fingerprinted for one possible job and offered another in Baltimore, where he will live and help out in a home for mentally challenged residents, he explained.
Oscar Munguia said Shepherd’s Table has enabled him to search for a new job and given him a place to live this past month. “This is my house. It now is my home,” he said as he ate his dinner with three others.
Councilmember Tom Hucker attended the celebration and read a proclamation thanking Shepherd’s Table “for all your good work.”