Open Table begins in Craig

Submitted photo
The team for Open Table recently met to continue forming the foundation of the program through education as well as suggestions for volunteers for the future. “Relationship transforms Community” was the key motto.
Pam Dudding Contributing writer

 The term ‘Open Table’ is new for many residents in Craig County, but there are hopes that it will soon become a buzz word that eventually brings positive feedback as well as much assistance for citizens in need.

The team for Open Table recently met to continue forming the foundation of the program through education as well as suggestions for volunteers for the future “Relationship transforms Community” was the key motto.

The video displayed a bridge only halfway complete, and Angie, the key trainer, explained that for some getting assistance, this may be their first time. But, for others it could be more.

“It’s like this bridge that is halfway complete for them,” she said. “When the person or family gets their assistance and it ends, but then another challenge happens, they either fall of the bridge or go back to where they came from, in the same situation, or sometimes worse.”

Open Table is available to help someone through a crisis or rough times. Not just financial with needs, but clothes, food, a foundation to help them to build a new hope for themselves and a vision of getting off of the same vicious cycle many have become accustomed to as well.

Open Table will be there when other services end to help the person or family build the other half of that bridge by offering relationships with a team of people. Many who have walked the same paths and have finally become more successful in living a dream of becoming free from their old way of life.

Currently, the program support is being garnered by two local businesses:  Unique Hair Fashions owned by Amy Horton, and Dent Crafters, owned by Jason and Danielle McAlwee.

Said Horton, “I love people and I think that if they can just see some good in others, a change can happen. If there is a place we can reach and help someone and pick them up to be able to have hope, even from a smile or a kind eye then that will make such a difference.”

Cheryl A Wilkinson, Director of Care Coordination for Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, noted her experiences and will be working closely with the Department of Social Services to educate people about the new program that will be available.

“I like it because you are directly helping someone. I like giving people clothes and food but there is more. Truly helping someone is a great feeling,” said JoAnna Ryan who has agreed to be the first to head a table for Craig. “Relationship building is my kind of thing, and helping someone in this way, even if it’s just talking out obstacles it’s what I want to do. Some people have zero support at home, so if we can help teens through bad ordeals or parents to be better, that would be helping them to move forward in their lives.”

Cathy, who works for the Circuit Court in Craig, has also agreed to be a part of this great program. “I really want to be involved because I see people go through things over and over and I just don’t know how to help people who are in this vicious cycle. They have no way of knowing how to get out and I’d like to be a part of helping someone.”

Everyone agreed the program is geared towards, “giving people hope and helping them to see that they have worth, something many have never known.”

Opinions included that sometimes it’s more difficult in a small town because so many people think they know a person and won’t give them a second chance. Yet, the small town also offers a greater opportunity for second, third and fourth chances, as most small communities tend to “have the backs” of their own, especially when someone is really trying.

Open Table is looking for table members who will be willing to donate their time to help another person or family. This will be someone who will serve on a board of several people, working in a select capacity to help be a guide. It’s a one-hour weekly meeting.

“The reason you would help is that you have a heart for other people,” the team agrees. Contact your local DSS, Horton or McAlwee to be directed for more information.