Meritage Homes donates $2,500 to Expanding the Table

Every Friday night, volunteers with Expanding the Table serve around 80 free meals out of their food truck at Doty Park in Summerville. The truck does the same at two other locations on Saturdays for about 200 free weekly meals.

Such an undertaking is not cheap, and the nonprofit relies heavily on donations, such as the $2,500 it received Friday, Jan. 19, from Chris Parks, coastal Carolinas region purchasing manager for Meritage Homes.

“We’re based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and very recently came to this market,” Parks said. “We’re trying to come in, impact the community and do our part.”

Parks heard about Expanding the Table from his wife, who is on Pinewood Prep’s nonprofit committee.

John Walker, CEO of Expanding the Table, said the volunteers and board members of the nonprofit are critical to its operation.

“We’ve got six or seven volunteers working in the truck and the area where we are serving meals,” Walker said. “How many we need depends on the circumstances and where we go. Doty Park is one of our biggest sites. We have a lot of volunteers, and they do a great job. Our board is active and believes in what we do, making everything much better for everyone involved.”

The idea for Expanding the Table began in 2013 when members of Ashley Ridge Church saw a growing need in the Summerville area for free, hot meals seven days a week. The church created a goal to fill in the missing gaps where food service was needed.

Expanding the Table officially launched in early 2014 to take meals to people throughout Summerville. The church purchased and outfitted an old coffee truck into a hot kitchen on wheels. Over the years, the mission has served more than 150,000 meals.

In October of 2021, Expanding the Table received approval as its own 501(c)(3). Currently, the nonprofit aims to expand to more dates and locations in the area, particularly in Lincolnville.

Aside from serving meals, Expanding the Table volunteers develop relationships with those in the community and work to connect them with numerous other resources. The truck carries a list of more than 50 different human services organizations that can help with various needs, from food and shelter to medical clinics, social services and job placements.

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