A “community table” sounds like a place where friends might gather to talk, plan and share meals, and that is just what the Food Bank had in mind when we decided to revamp our Three Rivers Table program.
For 25 years, Three Rivers Table has collected millions of pounds of prepared foods – food that might otherwise go to waste – from the region’s restaurants, caterers, hotels, banquet facilities and schools and delivered them in refrigerated trucks to shelters, soup kitchens and after-school programs. Now this highly successful program is undergoing a transformation, with a new name and a new concept. Known as Community Table, it will partner local chefs and restaurants directly with Food Bank agencies, strengthening the relationships among them. Community table donors “adopt” an agency within their community and prepare food for that agency on a schedule that works best for both. The donors will budget and plan meals which will be picked up by their designated partner agency.
The Food Bank TRT program had been providing 2,500-3,000 meals each month, while reducing food waste throughout Allegheny County. Donors benefit, too, as they receive recognition from the Food Bank so that their customers, employees and communities are aware of their generosity.
Community Table gives donors a chance to make a meaningful difference in their own neighborhoods and communities, while building closer relationships with network agencies. Since its inception in 2009 Community Table has matched 71 donors with 27 agencies and is already providing 13,000 meals a month!