Half Moon Bay, a beautiful coastal community which has experienced gentrification, has a significant part of the community of farm workers, seniors and homeless who are in need of nutritional support and/or experience isolation and loneliness. Founded in 2012 by Father Charlie Fermeglia and Clyde Beffa, Jr., the TABLE of PLENTY has served over 88,000 meals since its first Thursday gathering in 2013.
From the beginning, Father Charlie knew that the turning the vision into reality would need experienced, creative and dedicated leadership and asked Sister Jeanette Braun, SNDdeN if she would join the non-profit venture as its director. Rising to the challenge, Jeanette responded in the affirmative and has served as the Director of the TABLE of PLENTY since 2013, developing and working with a network of volunteers as well as a network of community partners who provide the elements necessary to provide a healthy and delicious meal each week.
“Little did I realize all that was ahead in this ministry,” Sister Jeanette said. “My experience as a Special Education teacher, Television Producer, Administrator and Coordinator of SNDdeN Associates and accompanying Central American refugees along with the experience of growing up with my family in Northern California prepared me well for my role in this ministry. “
The TABLE of PLENTY volunteers, who range in age from 12 to 85, help plan the meals, set the tables with table cloths and flowers, set up for live musicians, greet the guests by name, serve the meals, and offer guests bags of fresh organic produce provided by local farmers along with books given by the library. “Our dedicated team of volunteers are the best. They work hard and bring a spirit of love and joy to their service. We are so grateful to them and to our community partners who provide goods and services for the TABLE of PLENTY,” Sister Jeanette said.
It was and remains a significant undertaking and a ministry which Sister Jeanette clearly loves “It is a joy and a labor of love to offer hospitality at our TABLE of PLENTY for those who hunger for more than food,” she said. “The rich diversity of people who join us to share a meal hunger to be welcomed, to belong. When we break bread together at the TABLE of PLENTY, we create community and love one another.”
As the pandemic set in Sister Jeanette saw that these new realities demanded a transformation of the operation. She worked with the volunteers and partners to create a dinner delivery service. They have prepared and delivered 220 warm suppers each week to those in need for the past sixteen months. Volunteers also have phoned to check in and encourage members of the TABLE of PLENTY family. Sister Jeanette said that she is grateful they have found creative ways to continue to nourish people in need. “It was a challenge,” she said, “and we look forward to reopening our dining room at the end of July when we can again meet and share the experience of being in a community of love and support at our suppers.”
For more information about the TABLE of PLENTY, including wonderful videos please visit https://tableofplentyhmb.org/.