By Alyssa Penman
High Desert Daily
(Victorville)– A framed photo of Mother Teresa watches over volunteers on a Wednesday morning as they put the final touches on a meal of roast beef, vegetables, potatoes and pastries. When Dolores Zuniga, founder of The Lord’s Table, calls them together to pray, all work stops and everyone joins hands. They will get a chance to sit down and eat their lunch just before the doors open to three hundred residents of the High Desert hungry for a good meal.
After fifteen years, The Lord’s Table has grown from a weekly meal to a five-day-a-week feeding program helping hundreds of individuals and families. Although Zuniga is clear that no one is ever turned away and “God always provides” they do rely on gifts from the community to stay open.
There is one easy and affordable way for anyone in the High Desert to support this service. The first Sunday of every month volunteers and staff provide a delicious breakfast fundraiser for the public. Only $5.00 per person, the all-you-can-eat meal features ham, eggs, pancakes, menudo, pastries, coffee and juice. Served from 8 am to 3 pm, this food is fresh and cooked just for members of the community who want to support the work of the ministry.
In addition to supporting this vital program by enjoying the affordable meal, community members may be able to donate items the ministry desperately needs including a new swamp cooler for the hall, NSF metal shelving for dry goods storage, professional assistance to fix water damage on the walls and some broken plaster, and paint for the hall.
As anyone who has met Dolores Zuniga knows, she has sacrificed much to provide for the physical needs of Victor Valley residents over the last fifteen years. “There are many families with children,” Zuniga explains. “They lost jobs, lost their homes, and have nowhere to eat, so they come here.” She is humble but takes a healthy pride in the way The Lord’s Table has come together. “We are from all different churches, managers from the mall, workers from Target, but we work united.” And the work is never done, according to Zuniga. “We never turn people down. We help those who have trouble. We don’t expect them to tell us everything or tell us their story. We treat them with dignity. We give them very good food.”
Today many of the volunteers are individuals or couples, some of whom volunteer several times a week. A group of adults with special needs comes to serve the other volunteers and enjoy a meal together. Support comes from all directions though, including the San Bernardino County Food Bank and Desert Communities United Way. St. Mary’s Hospital comes every Wednesday to provide health screenings and care to the uninsured. The USDA food bag program provides food for qualified families the third Friday of every month.
One volunteer who shows up every day is David Vigil. Several years ago, Vigil’s brother was in a serious motorcycle accident and it looked as though he would lose his leg. Vigil was not a churchgoing man at the time, but he prayed then and committed to God that if he saved his brother’s leg, Vigil would dedicate his life to church and service. His brother was healed and Vigil kept his promise. He volunteered in a lot of ministries at the church but still felt something was missing. “From the first day I came in to The Lord’s Table, I felt the like it was right,” Vigil shared. “The more you give of yourself the more the Lord gives you.” Vigil’s mom and dad volunteer now, and he is very happy. He started out cleaning, then cooking, then serving drinks, eventually taking on office work: writing checks, answering emails, filing, making copies.
“Everyone has time, talents or treasures to share,” Vigil explains. “We need someone who can help us maintain the physical structure. We patch it but we need it fixed. The building was built in the 1920s and there are many things that need attention.”
It is clear that volunteering at The Lord’s Table has been a transforming experience in Vigil’s life. “It’s great being part of this group. We all get along and it is because of God’s mission. It’s like a big family. Two new workers started today and they said they could feel the good vibes. That’s why I’m still here.”
Anyone who would like a free meal can show up at the church on Sixth Street at 11 am Monday through Friday. There is a sign in sheet, but there is no identification required and no income requirements. Volunteers and donors are encouraged to call the office at 760-241-2043. Other ways to support the ministry include their food booth at the big mariachi concert at Mavericks Stadium in August and their annual Spaghetti Dinner in September, sponsored by Our Lady of the Desert in Apple Valley.
For More Information Please feel free to contact The Lord’s Table at: