Operating A Table
In Open Table, people in poverty who have the will to improve their lives are empowered through the intensive Table model that can help lift one family at a time to sustainability.
“I feel like I can do anything now, because Open Table made me work for everything I gained.”
Open Table Sister: C.A.R.E. 2009 Research with Arizona State University
Using the Open Table model and support from the Open Table organization, congregations recruit volunteers who are trained to launch “Tables.” A Table is the platform through which our Brothers and Sisters in poverty and congregation members become partners in developing a plan to achieve sustainability and wholeness. Candidates for Tables pass through a psychological assessment and backgrounding process.
Each Table is composed of a group of volunteers that make a year commitment to act as a team of life specialists, encouragers, and advocates for impoverished Brothers, Sisters and families. The Table members, together with the individual or family being helped establish goals, accountability, develop an overall plan and implement it. Table members network in their congregations and the community for resources to support the plan.
Each Table is hosted by a congregation or two or more congregations partnered to launch a Table. A required team of volunteers (10-12 people help an adult or family – 6-7 help a young adult aging out of foster care) over an 8 – 12 month period. Tables generally meet once a week for six months and then at a lesser intensity as the work progresses. Table members are generalists, work as teams and also provide leadership for a certain aspect of the plan such as occupation, education, spirituality, health, transportation and other categories (see Open Table model diagram).