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.
Open Table Ministry strives to foster a community where everyone is valued and all people’s spiritual, physical, and emotional needs are met.
We are committed to providing a welcoming environment for all members of our community without regard to race, religion, gender, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status in all of our programs and activities. We strive to treat everyone with dignity, compassion, and respect.
Every Monday at Noon on the grounds of Trinity United Methodist at 215 N Church Street, Durham. Come join us!
We offer a "Free Store" to our community. Open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-11:30 am, our clients can come collect clothing, shoes, coats, toiletries, and other practical items. Our motto is "freely received, freely given."
What does Open Table Ministry do? Services we provide regularly include:
Clothing, furnishings, and other practical items
Work boots, shoes, uniforms, and other gear necessary to gain employment
A weekly healthy meal to develop and maintain relationships and learn specific needs
Advocacy and assistance with housing process
Referrals to public housing authority (documented referrals are required)
Documentation of homeless status (required for access to county system resources)
Obtaining lost or stolen identification cards (required for access to most long-term homeless shelters)
Transportation to appointments via bus passes and personal rides
Homelessness diversion through transportation to other cities and rent/utility assistance
2018 By the Numbers
6095 lunches served
60 nights of emergency shelter provided
40 individuals helped into stable housing
56 individuals diverted from homelessness
250+ volunteers gave their time
More than 6000 volunteer hours worked
42 apartments furnished
14,674 items distributed at the Free Store
53 supporting local congregations, businesses & civic groups