One of the luncheon guests used to work in the White House. One taught African American children in a segregated school. One had been a fighter pilot. One grew up on a cotton farm.
Although the 15 people who gathered for lunch in Broadlands on Aug. 25 had diverse life stories, they also had a few things in common. All had volunteered their services to help others in the past year, and all were at least 90 years old.
Jim Butts says he has witnessed countless changes in the 44 years he has been volunteering for LINK, a nonprofit organization that delivers emergency food to families in Sterling, Herndon and Ashburn. One thing has not changed, however: Despite the prosperity that has come to the region, there are always people who don’t know where they will find their next meal.
The event was the most recent in a series of Community Table dinners organized to provide a fine dining experience for low-income individuals and families. Members of two or more faith communities have joined to host most of the dinners, giving them the opportunity to build interfaith friendships while serving people in need, organizers said.
For the past two years, local officials and volunteers have organized drives that collected more than 43,000 blankets for delivery to refugees in Turkey. This year, as the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has swelled to more than 2 million, the drive is being expanded to include new and “gently used” winter coats, as well as blankets and cash donations.