One Year Later
A Year of Transformation: Making Lemonade from Lemons
It was one year ago, on March 12, 2020, that we regrettably closed our community dinner doors. But we kept the pantry doors open and made big transformations to continue to connect those in our community to food.
Who will Open Table be after the pandemic? I don’t have to go far for guidance. I just look across the street at the Pleasant Café (a beloved Maynard dining landmark founded in 1949), which leased its space to “Peacock” prepared meals to go. Peacock’s dining philosophy? “Restaurant experience in the comfort of your home”.
This pretty much mirrors what Open Table has done with our meal program. We engaged our incredible cook teams, who for 30 years have been creating meals for our community dinners, and directed their talent into creating meals packaged to go. Led by Stephanie Shenton, these volunteer teams rolled up their sleeves and turned fresh ingredients into over 500 meals a week.
This means five times more people have been able to receive high quality, nutritious meals – pre-pandemic we provided 5000 meals a year, and since March 12th of 2020 we’ve provided close to 26,000 meals to people in need. Those are some incredible numbers.
As for in-person dining returning? Right now the dining room is staged for our custom grocery order fulfillment – aisles and refrigerators of food organized to make packing orders expedient, ensuring we honor our clients’ preferences. Our meal and pantry operations have never quite looked like this before, but the change seems to be right in step with our restaurant neighbors and more importantly are meeting the needs of our clients.
Executive Director, Open Table
ps. Stay tuned for more information about our post-pandemic plans and ideas for restoring more “community” to our meals