In 2006, if a person or family was hungry, there was nowhere in Morgan Hill for them to go for a hot meal (except for the wonderful Senior Lunch Program offered for seniors). Brian Cunningham, a Catholic lay person, and Martha’s Kitchen, a nonprofit organization in San Jose, conducted research and found that food insecurity and hunger were higher in South County, including in Morgan Hill, than anywhere else in Santa Clara County, and that there were fewer resources available in South County than elsewhere.
Hunger offends us as people of faith. Those created in the image of God should not suffer hunger for any reason. For Christians, Easter—the resurrection of Jesus from the dead—opens the reality of new life and new hope and sends us to enact that new life and new hope in the world in all the ways we can. Martha’s Kitchen offered to provide food if volunteers would pick it up from them, drive it to Morgan Hill, keep it hot or cold, and serve it in a safety-certified kitchen and process.
So, the Tuesday after Easter in 2006, the people of Advent Lutheran Church started The Community Table, a place where someone could come every single week to receive a hot meal, with a comfortable place to dine and to have coffee, tea or water, and, of course, dessert!
It took a little time for this movement to catch on; for five years, Tuesday was the only evening covered. Then the United Methodist Church stepped in to cover another evening, then St. Catherine Catholic Church, then Community Christian Church and others.
In 2015, the Rotary Club provided a van and driver to take care of the food transport each day. Today, there are hot meals available each weeknight in Morgan Hill. The suppers are currently hosted by
– Monday: St. Catherine Parish Center, 17400 Peak Avenue, 6-7pm
– Tuesday: Advent Lutheran Church, 16870 Murphy Avenue, 5-6pm
– Wednesday: Voices Academy, 610 Jarvis Drive, 6-7pm
– Thursday: Community Christian, 305 W. Main Avenue, 6-7pm
– Friday: Grace Hill Church, 16970 Dewitt Avenue, 6-7pm
All are welcome, and no ID is required. During Covid, we have needed to change from offering sit-down meals to offering take-out meals only.
Four churches and one school are hosting these suppers, and the volunteers serving these meals come from many faith traditions and with no stated faith tradition. The faces of our neighbors draw us into this service.
Addressing the root causes of food insecurity and hunger is important work that is ongoing and is also part of how we live out our faith. And, while food insecurity and hunger persist, it is our honor to share meals, time and fellowship with neighbors who benefit from coming by on a weeknight, and to encourage others to do the same.
Rev. Anita R. Warner is Pastor of Advent Lutheran Church of Morgan Hill and a founding member of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance of South County. For further information about Advent Lutheran Church or the Community Table, contact [email protected].