HINTON, WV—A Special Holiday Dinner is planned for Wednesday, December 27 at the St. Patrick Table of Plenty featuring baked ham and all the trimmings. Since its inception a year ago, the Table of Plenty has provided more than 2,500 meals in its efforts to help feed the hungry.
“What a marvelous achievement,” offered Rev. Father Rey Landicho, Pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church, “but, at the same time, what a sad commentary that such need still exists in our communities. We are thankful to the Good Lord, to our volunteers, supporters, and the community that we are able to help those in need and pray on one hand that we can do more, and on the other that soon less will be needed.”
“The Special Holiday Dinner follows on the heels of a highly successful Thanksgiving Dinner held November 13,” according to Art Sanda a co-founder and chairman of the Table of Plenty Program. “With the help of the Women of St. Patrick and a tremendous turnout of volunteers, we served more than 165 pounds of turkey and all the makings to more than 125 people, plus take-outs, putting out more than 165 meals in total.
“Additionally, and as a surprise to all of us, two generous women from way beyond Hinton made the event even more meaningful to the folks who attended. Cheryl Flanagan of Nashville, a frequent visitor to Hinton, arrived that afternoon with bag after bag of winter clothing to be distributed at the dinner.
According to Mrs. Flanagan, who will be retiring to Hinton next year with her husband and her mother, the clothing was a Christmas gift between herself and her best friend from Savanah Georgia, Pam Maynard. “It was spontaneous,” Mrs. Flanagan said. “Pam and I were Christmas shopping in Nashville and I was relating to her my having volunteered at the Table of Plenty whenever I was in Hinton and the needs I had seen in the community; the next thing I knew, we were loading up on jackets, coats, boots, pull-overs and other such clothing. It was without a doubt the best Christmas gift we ever have given each other.”
The genesis of the Table of Plenty goes back several years, Sanda said. “We began talking of the need for a program to help feed the hungry during Friars Club meetings at least two years ago,” Sanda explained. “And we continued those discussions when we formed the Knights of Columbus Round Table the following year, but it took the tenacity of one our newest members, and one of our newest Catholic Brethren, Randolph “Rooster” Meador to goad us into action. No one amongst us better knew the people of Hinton who are in need than did Rooster; he has lived and worked and been among these folks most of his life. Because of him, an idea became a reality and now we are helping in meaningful way, at least we hope we are.”
No project, no matter how well intentioned and necessary, is possible without funding. “We truly have been blessed,” said Sanda. “At the outset, one parish family anonymously provided the seed the money to get the Table of Plenty started and the John Halpin Knights of Columbus Council 5657 at St. Francis de Sales Church in Beckley has been a generous and continuous contributor to the program. Without them, what has been accomplished wouldn’t have.”
“For that support, from our initial benefactor on to the Knights of Columbus, we are most appreciative,” he said, “as we are for the individuals from the community who have donated to the program and our regular supporters who provide not only some funds for our program, but spend time sharing some soup and a sandwich with less fortunate members of the community.
“And then from amongst those we are attempting to serve come the donations that tug at your heart, and bring a tear to the eye. At almost every dinner, along with a few dollars dropped in our make-shift donation box are quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies. Pennies! But to those folks, those pennies, nickels and dimes were huge donations; in all probability all the money they had in their pockets. Does that make it all worthwhile? Darn right it does,” Sanda said.
“Equally moving,” he added, “are the ‘Thank you’ and the hugs from the very young and the very old, along with some in-between; their appreciation is so genuine it makes you wish you could do more, as did Cheryl and Pam,” Sanda added. “As much as we hope we can grow the program, we hope and pray even more that someday there will be no need for it or any like it.
“But the reality is, as long as there is that need, we’ll try our best to meet it and perhaps bring some hope and fellowship to those in our community who need it most. The real beneficiaries though,” Sanda said, “are not those being served, but those doing the serving; those who walk away with feelings that can’t be described, only realized from having had the privilege to perhaps do a little good.”
The Table of Plenty Soup and Sandwich is held bi-weekly on alternating Wednesdays, with the next dinner scheduled for December 27 at the St. Patrick Parish Hall at Temple St. and 2nd Avenue in downtown Hinton. Everyone is welcome and there is no charge. To help support this community project of the Knights of Columbus and the Friars Club, contributions can be sent to The Friars Club c/o St. Patrick Catholic Church, 309 Second Ave, Hinton WV 25951.