A new nonprofit whose mission is to meet the needs of struggling families and individuals has scheduled its first free monthly dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Sherburne County Fairgrounds.

Community Table will serve hamburgers and hot dogs picnic style. Each meal will be packaged and ready to grab and eat while seated at picnic tables. People are encouraged to come for the food and stay awhile for conversation.

The group will have 500 meals available and it plans to serve them until they are gone.

One premise of the group is its members’ knowledge that there are at least 1,500 people living below the poverty line in Elk River.

“If those numbers do not shock you, please know that this number does not include the homeless or those above the poverty line, whom are barely making ends meet,” Jess Rothmeyer said in a press release announcing an earlier sponsor dinner held to seek supporters.

That meal was held March 8 at VandenBerge Middle School in Elk River, and it attracted several dozen people. The money raised to date will fully fund the group’s first 5 meals, and organizers will continue to look to community organizations and businesses for their partnership in their endeavors to serve those in need.

The original plan was to have its first monthly meal shortly after the sponsor dinner, but that had to be postponed when COVID-19 struck.

Community Table’s organizers have continued to meet, and say they are excited to host their first meal at the fairgrounds since school facilities remain closed for public gatherings.

Community Table’s mission is to feed the hungry — physically and relationally — by providing monthly community gatherings in which food, friendship, and neighborly love will be shared, by all.

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