To the Editor:
A little over three years ago, Open Table MDI began serving community suppers to the MDI community. What started out as a free weekly meal, offered to 50-100 people each week, has blossomed into something much larger. Today, our organization has served over 35,000 meals, feeding approximately 400 people each week – with an additional 150 people being served by the MDI Food Access Project (a collaboration between our organization, COA, Beech Hill Farm, the Bar Harbor Food Pantry, Healthy Acadia’s Gleaning Initiative and Island Connections). Our food delivery service, developed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is now reaching nearly every town and village on the island – as well as the Outer Islands.
Due to this steady growth and our desire to build our organization’s capacity beyond our current kitchen space, we recently announced that we are leasing space at 116 Cottage Street in Bar Harbor – working with owners Tom & Jodi Sargent to renovate a building that has desperately needed it for some time. We are thrilled about what this move means for our organization and the community. However, it is a move that also brings forward bittersweet feelings, as it means we will be leaving our first home – the Bar Harbor Congregational Church.
From the moment we approached Pastor Rob Benson about reestablishing a weekly community supper in Bar Harbor, he was 100 percent on board. Every step of the way, he and the entire congregation of the church have embodied what they so lovingly state on their website: “Open doors. Open hearts. Open minds.” Their support has been unwavering and we know, wholeheartedly, that our organization would not be where it is today without their love, generosity and dedication to service. We write this letter out of deep gratitude and with the knowledge that continued collaboration is upcoming. We also hope this letter serves to quell any thoughts within the community that this move is a result of any discontent between our organization and the church. That could not be further from the truth.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to Pastor Rob, the church Board of Directors and each and every member of the Bar Harbor Congregational Church. We love you.
Puranjot Kaur and Mahandeva Singh