top of page

HOW IT STARTED

In 2009, Restaurateur Robert St. John received a call from the Edwards Street Fellowship Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Simply put, they had run out of food. Being a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, he figured the fastest, easiest way to get food to the pantry would be to call his Sysco sales representative, place an order, and have the truck drop ship the order to the agency’s doorstep the next day.

Robert put together an order and had it shipped to the pantry just in time to make sure that the clients who were depending on Edwards Street to feed their families got the food they so desperately needed.

Robert wondered if other agencies throughout Mississippi were having similar problems. He found that there was a host of organizations throughout the state who had the same need, and he decided to approach Sysco to propose a question: “What if every business and home had an extra table where they could feed those in need? What would that look like?” Sysco loved the idea, and Extra Table was born.

RSJ & Martha
"What if every business and home had an extra table where they could feed those in need?"
Robert st. john, founder

Extra Table operated for ten years with Sysco as their sole food and delivery mechanism provider. In the face of COVID-19, with the cost of food skyrocketing and retail-sized cans scarce, Extra Table had to re-evaluate purchasing and distribution methods to have a constant supply of healthy food on the road to pantries meeting the need and increase in requests for food. As of April 2020, Extra Table buys by the truckload and warehouses food to meet the demand and maintain our mission (thanks to some good folks, our

warehouse is FREE to us!).

CHOW Purchasing has joined the Extra Table team as our food broker and close partner, handling all our purchasing, logistics, delivery, and warehousing needs.

HOW IT WORKS

WE FIGHT HUNGER DIFFERENTLY

 Our Mission: We fight hunger differently by fundraising to purchase new, healthy, shelf-stable food, which we deliver to our 63 food pantry and soup kitchen partners across Mississippi every month at

no cost to them.

 

Working with our food partners, our vision is for a Mississippi with food on every table. 

 

While canned food drives are important to many of our pantries and are key for community support in small towns, Extra Table fights hunger differently. Canned food drives often produce expired items or unusable foods.  Cranberry dressing is not a meal!  No one wants to eat water chestnuts for dinner.

Not everyone has the ability or ingredients to prepare Hamburger Helper, and expired foods are dangerous. While quantities of great veggies are included in canned food drives, lean proteins like tuna and peanut butter are often not. Extra Table procures those proteins by the truckload at extremely reduced prices and provides larger quantities to pantry partners. 

For the $10 spent purchasing canned goods for a school food drive that must be distributed, sorted, and prepared by volunteers (by the can), Extra Table can buy greater quantities of food in larger containers and deliver it faster, mindful of limited volunteer time and abilities. Invest that same $10 with Extra Table and help us feed the masses in a more efficient and effective way! 

While our process has some complexities, overall, our method is simple. 

STEP 1:  FUNDRAISING

Extra Table raises funds from donors just like you. Donations can be coded by zip code, city, or pantry (so your money stays local), and 100% of your donation is spent on food. Remember, administrative costs are raised separately; donors must specify "admin" in their donation for funds to be designated there! But hey, you want to support our four full-time and two part-time staffers by supporting admin – bring it on! 

 

STEP 2:  PURCHASING

Extra Table purchases new, healthy, and shelf-stable food by the truckload with the assistance of food brokers. 

STEP 3:  Deliveries

Extra Table food is typically delivered to our food pantry and soup kitchen partners on the last week of each month. Our awesome delivery drivers unload and shelve food so pantry volunteer time and abilities can be used wisely. We deliver food monthly, so our pantry partners do not need to store food or ration it out in hopes of having enough for the entire year. We have the ability to increase the amount of food distributed during the summer months when kids are home and not receiving school breakfasts and lunches. We can shake up orders by sending out more soup in the winter months and more fruit in the summer months.  

 

STEP 4:  MISSISSIPPIANS ARE FED!

Voila! Our hungry neighbors here in Mississippi get the food they so desperately need. That’s Extra Table – getting the best quality food to the most people. It’s a relatively simple concept making a BIG difference.

bottom of page