Community Table, Sylva’s nonprofit community kitchen, has outgrown its existing facility and is targeting a move to the town’s now-vacant senior center.
The county built a new senior center, freeing up space in the old one, which is owned by the town. The building is located downtown adjacent to the town pool and playground.
Last month the Community Table’s executive director, Amy Grimes, asked the Sylva town board if it would support the move so the organization could move forward with concrete fundraising goals for the building switch.
The board voted unanimously to “bless” the project.
Grimes said the Community Table served an average of 120 meals per night in January for a monthly total of 2,076 meals, triple last January’s number.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces every week,” Grimes said.
Community Table –– which serves meals four nights per week and operates a food pantry by appointment –– turned 10 years old last August. The Sylva Church of Christ has donated the current space to operate the kitchen, but Grimes said the Community Table needs more room to accommodate a surge in demand for services.
“We’re busting at the seams,” Grimes said.
Grimes said the Sylva board’s vote cleared the way for Community Table to get cost estimates for the move and undertake a fundraising drive. Grimes expects to get a building inspector’s estimate on the necessary renovations to the building next month.
“We are hoping the town, the county and the community will come together to help us, and we’ve always had tremendous support,” Grimes said.
Community Table serves warm, home-cooked meals to anyone who wants them from Monday through Friday every week.
Sylva Mayor Maurice Moody said the senior center had always been a building devoted to community service. If the Community Table could raise the money to make the move a success, the town would support it.
“What the board did was basically bless the idea if they want to move forward with it,” Moody said.