MORE THAN 300 PEOPLE
LIVE IN HOMELESSNESS
IN THE TRIANGLE AREA
OUR MISSION & CHALLENGE
Open Table Ministry seeks out and guides those experiencing homelessness and poverty to long-term health and wholeness by building ongoing trusting relationships, meeting practical and personal needs, making connections to community resources, and bridging critical gaps in the social services system.
At Open Table Ministry, we are intentional about befriending, building strong relationships with and serving the homeless members of our community who are pushed aside, living unsheltered, often to be unnoticed, disregarded or ignored.
Listening to their stories, we have learned that although the primary cause of homelessness is poverty… there are many kinds of poverty that has little to do with an empty wallet. We have found that the greatest poverty is the poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for. Each person living in homelessness has a story…a journey of sorrow and loss, illness or addiction, injury or abuse… bringing them to a position of humiliation…to be homeless. The men and women served by Open Table Ministry are mostly loners, unsuited or uncomfortable in the shelters, sometimes because of their shy nature, sometimes because of past trauma, and sometimes because of an underlying mental illness, their homes are hidden. Some camp in groups or small communities, others stay by themselves or with their dogs unnoticed in the woods. We are really not much different from one another, except perhaps for where we live.
WHO WE REACH THROUGH OUR MINISTRY
Currently more than 300 people live in homelessness in the Durham/Chapel Hill area. Open Table’s ministry serves more than 100 of these men and women individually each week, in varying ways according to individual needs and goals. Open Table Ministry meets people where they are, whether in the streets, in the woods, in the hospital, or at a shared meal to help address various life and health issues, offering hope for a life of long-term health and wholeness. By providing spiritual and social support, through motivational interviewing, evidence-based best practices, and Continuum of Care partnerships with service providers, OTM seeks the best possible outcome for each individual.
We serve a free lunch every Monday at Noon on the grounds of Trinity United Methodist at 215 N Church Street, Durham, and everyone eats together, volunteers and clients alike. The table is open--come join us!
In May of 2017 we opened our "Free Store." Our clients can come once every calendar month to collect clothing, shoes, coats, toiletries, and other practical items. Our motto is "freely received, freely given."
In a typical month we serve about 125 homeless or low-income individuals and distribute more than 1000 items, everything from jeans to sleeping bags to underwear.
Get to Work
We provide work boots, shoes, uniforms, and other equipment to people with verified job opportunities who do not have the means to purchase those required items, removing one of the barriers to gainful employment.
Our Executive Director, Carolyn Schuldt, spends innumerable hours listening to stories our unsheltered friends have to tell about their situations, assisting them to move toward individual goals. This may include referrals for medical or mental health services, applications for job training or housing, acquiring necessary documents, or advocating in the judicial system. Our work is collaborative with many other agencies and services, filling gaps that might be insurmountable barriers without our work together. Last year OTM assisted over 40 individuals out of homelessness into stable housing--more than 10% of Durham’s homeless population!