On Sundays, in Cherryfield, you can find a good meal and a wonderful group of people.
“It’s a gathering place every Sunday for people from all walks of life, and all ages who come together for a free meal. It’s an amazing place where people can enjoy music and eat some good food,” said Kim Summers, who helps out. “It’s the togetherness of everything, I wish more communities would do it. So many people are happy. Some are dressed up, others come from work. In the blueberry season, it’s like come as you are. They come off the barrens or the wreathing places from work. Some come in nice clothes or jeans or a T shirt and shorts in the summertime,” she said, “Or bathing suits tops. There is no formal dress code. Some people could be wearing ripped up clothes.”
According to Summers, the dinners are put on by The Sea Coast Mission of Maine, and it’s from 3:30 in the afternoon to 5:00 every Sunday in the EdGE Building in Cherryfield. It’s called The Table of Plenty. All are welcome. Different organizations put on the meal every week. There are all kinds of different meals. Every week there are a new dishes with different themes. There are all different varieties. It’s always good. People can donate If they want to. You don’t know what will be served from week to week. “It’s an amazing place to meet people around the community. A lot of people look forward to it every week. It’s a beautiful, magical, a wholesome thing you have going here where people can come together for a Sunday dinner. The whole community makes it happen. There’s always new people, and you have your regulars,” said Summers.
Summers told me that it’s a real positive environment and everyone is invited.” People may come staggering in at the last minute as the majority of people have eaten. We all have our different stories as people pass through. New people, you get to know and everybody’s different. We show them that they belong here,” said Summers. “It’s an amazing thing to see all the people here. They are welcome here by taking away all the barriers to make them not feel so nervous or uncomfortable and get into the conversation. The music in the background enhances the meal. If you go hungry, it’s your own fault,” she said.
Steve Hartley played music while I visited. “It’s just a good atmosphere for people to get together on a Sunday afternoon,” said Hartley, “We got a mic and behind the microphone, anybody can play a few songs if they want to. When I play, I’m not nervous because it’s mellow. I try to to get people to play and if I can’t, I will play a couple of tunes. I just play them off the top of my head,” he said.
Pat Fickett has been volunteering from nearly the beginning. “Wonderful people, that need it, come for a meal,” said Fickett. “People come out for the social aspect. People come out every Sunday. They see people that you don’t ordinarily see during the week. I’m glad they come out and enjoy the food. I met a lot of people that I never met before,” she said. “I become friends with them.” She told me that she gets tired as she can feel it in her back. Fickett told me that she likes to see new faces. “This will be going on as long that there’s people to feed and people willing to feed them,” she said.
Steve Grossi has served food many times for St Michael’s Church in Cherryfield, which is one of the groups that participates in serving food for the Downeast Table of Plenty. “It’s a wonderful time, you get close to the community, and it’s a nice warm feeling and there is a lot of compassion and understanding too,” said Grossi. “We serve people and if they had the opportunity, they would serve us. The music and food moves people, and they come together and say hi to each other. You know that they are getting fed, and they are not going hungry. It’s wonderful to have this in the countryside to feed some of the poor. Some families need the help because they don’t sit down and have a nice meal on Sunday like we do,” he said.
Patrick Sawyer is a first time volunteer. He told me that it was a great experience for him and that he really enjoys volunteerin at The Downeast Table of Plenty. He also mentioned he loves the community. There are some amazing people, and the food is good and the best part of it is he didn’t have to do dishes as another crew did that. “It was quality time with folks. I fostered some relationships, said Sawyer. “It was upbeat. It was like a family. We all got along. They needed a little help so I decided to hangout.We are all sisters and brothers getting along like family, we are all people. It was a wonderful warm feeling, where friends and community can come together. The music moved me, the food moved me. The place was clean, the food smelled awesome, and the coffee was brewing,” he said.
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