The Friendship Table opened at 3 p.m. Friday having served 9,995 people since March 15. Just a few minutes later it had reached the benchmark of 10,000.
They’ve been serving an average of 120 to 140 people a night, said Assistant Manager Joe Doriguzzi.
While not an optimistic illustration of the local economy — it shows the new financial struggles that many locals are facing due to the pandemic — it does illustrate the city’s generous spirit.
That the Friendship Table can continue to serve so many shows the support it’s received from the community during the past two months. That is 10,000 meals that were made possible by the help of a number of local businesses and individuals, according to Doriguzzi.
A dedicated crew is at the Table five days a week preparing and handing out food.
Hazel Wolcott, who just celebrated her 92nd birthday, her companions said, works at the Table from 9 a.m. to close Monday through Friday every week. She’s just one of the crew.
On Friday, Wolcott, along with Andie Swaney, Amy Burgett and Doriguzzi, were in the dining area filling out food bags as visitors began lining up outside. Tracey Van Gorder is the cook, and Barb Carney, Ginny Young and Larry Woods are also regular helpers.
Manager Barb Shufran is still working from home due to health issues, but Doriguzzi said he corresponds with her every day about Friendship Table work. Board member Harrijane Moore is helping with bookkeeping until Shufran is back on her feet.
Due to social distancing guidelines, they are not preparing their normal sit-down meals, but every day from 3 to 5 p.m. people can stop by and get a hot dinner and a lunch for the following day to take home and eat.
On Friday, they were handing out milk to families with children. Slices of pizza are donated by places like Dominos and Little Caesars.