WEST PORTSMOUTH — Community of Christ in West Portsmouth, 2235 Russell Ave., in West Portsmouth Community of Christ has partnered with The Open Table, (TOT) Inc. for a continued effort to abolish poverty, and end suffering in local congregations and communities.
Through Open Table, Community of Christ has been able to help people with life skills, and resiliency from lives that were once broken and marred by poverty and dysfunction. Vicki Crabtree, local coordinator for The Open Table at Community of Christ in West Portsmouth, said they are currently working with a 27-year old man, who Crabtree preferred not to name.
“Open Table is a core group for people who are trying to get back on their feet, for whatever reason,” Crabtree said. “The young man that we are working with now is 27. He started using drugs at age 16, and dropped out of school. As a lot of people that do drugs, he burned all of his bridges. When it came to the part of the application for emergency contacts, he said he didn’t have any, and didn’t have anyone that he could put there.”
Many lives have been blessed as a result of TOT.
“The people on this Table have been so blessed. And the funny thing is that two are three participating did not think that they could do this,” Crabtree said. “But when they decide to do this, they find that it is not overwhelming. We have nine people on our Table, and if someone has to go out of town or something, we have met with as few as five. We have all agreed that we have been closer to one another and God has absolutely blessed us.”
Those who participate in TOP are dedicated, and meet weekly after Sunday morning service at the church.
“When you form your Table, and meet with your brother or sister, you come up with a time and day to meet that is best for everybody,” Crabtree said.”We meet on Sunday afternoons at 2o’clock,” she said.
The gentlemen has made a tremendous amount of progress in his journey from poverty.
“This young man has been clean and sober now for a year and a half. When he started the application, he didn’t have a job, but by the time he started Open Table he did have a job at a fast food restaurant,” Crabtree said. “When he started he also had a bunch of fines, he’d never had a driver’s license. We do not provide money. If its an emergency, we will lend money and they will pay it back to help them keep their dignity, and to help them learn that we are not giving them a hand out, and that they are pulling their own weight. So, we help him figure out a budget, and he was able to pay all of his fines.”
A vehicle was found for the young man, improving his life even more.
“After he got all of his fines paid off he was able to paid he was able to take the permit test, then get his driver license, and we helped him to get a car free,” Crabtree said. “We network, we go out and talk to people who we know. The car had to have a few repairs, but he was able to pay for the repairs. We made sure that he understood about having insurance, and we are searched online trying to help him find a good rate for his insurance.”
One of the greatest benefits of TOT, is that a person is destined to gain a new, positive self-image.
“I have seen the young man that just came to us, he was skinny, he looked sickly and beat down, and as if the world had just beaten him down, ” Crabtree said. “I have seen him blossom into this beautiful human being that has confidence, he’s gained weight, and he acts as if he as so much more self-worth. He feels so good about himself.”
For more information visit the website: www.theopentable.org
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.