AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF)- One Table provides a place for everyone in Aiken to sit down together and celebrate thanksgiving as a community. Young and old, from all different backgrounds, everyone is welcome, which is what makes this unique Aiken tradition so special.
“It started out as two soup kitchens were kind of doing a Thanksgiving meal, and then they kind of came together and did one,” said One Table organizer Kathryn Wade. “And then those organizers started talking and said, ‘well what if we just did something for the whole community?’ And so it really did stem out of that soup kitchen. And now it’s for everybody.”
Volunteers have been preparing food for One Table for 11 years, and everyone is invited.
“You know you usually have events for kind of poor people and you have events for maybe wealthier people, but this is an event that everybody comes together and sit at one table to fellowship with one another,” Wade said.
Residents say they love having the opportunity to come together.
“It’s beautiful because it lets people know by the community and the city of Aiken doing this…it means that we need to gather to love each other,” said Aiken resident Rhea Brooks.
And it’s certainly a labor of love. Around 200 volunteers from various local churches prepare enough food to feed nearly 2,000 people.
“Macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles, some sweet potatoes, rice, dressing, the whole of it,” Wade said.
They also grill 90 turkeys.
The people who enjoy One Table every year say they feel lucky to live in such a gracious community.
“I don’t know anywhere else that I’ve ever…lived or been where a whole town comes together and feeds everybody,” said volunteer Gray Hagler. “And the donations are just amazing…you know, this is a great town. It really is.”
All the uneaten food is donated to local soup kitchens.