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The Black Mountain Open Table is a new community outreach program offering food and friendship.

After many months of planning an outreach effort to address food insecurity issues, draw neighbors closer together and build a healthier, stronger community, The Black Mountain Open Table opened its doors March 18 in the fellowship hall of Black Mountain United Methodist Church, 101 Church St. at the corner of State and Church Streets, Anyone wanting a free, simple meal and a place to build friendships is welcome at the meals, held at the church from 11:30 a-m.-1 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Black Mountain is largely a retirement community with a large percentage of residents 65 years old and older, nearly 6 percent living below poverty level, many struggling to raise grandchildren. The Open Table was created to help them and to welcome all individuals and families.

The Black Mountain Open Table is supported by volunteers from several local churches including Black Mountain United Methodist Church, residents at Givens Highland Farms Retirement Community, Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, Disciples of Christ Church, Montreat Presbyterian Church, Christ Community Church Montreat, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Swannanoa Valley, Tabernacle United Methodist, First Baptist Church Black Mountain, and Mills Chapel Baptist Church. This group of ecumenical faith communities also partnered with MANNA FoodBank, received a grant from the The United Methodist Committee on Older Adults and received a gift from Givens Highland Farms Resident Corporation to support start-up efforts of the outreach.

"The meals served are simple, basic food that allows people to break bread with each other for physical and spiritual nourishment," Mike MacDonald, pastor of Black Mountain United Methodist Church, said. "We are very excited about the outreach and invite the community to come and be a part of The Black Mountain Welcome Table."

For more, call 669-8248. Donations are always welcome.

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