"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat."
The Training Table is a joint program between the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) of Iowa and the Valley Community Center of West Des Moines.
The program was initiated as an extension of its Urban Impact Ministry and the "Friday Night Meals" - meals catered to the varsity boys and girls basketball players of the Des Moines metro schools on Friday nights of home games.
Don Long, Assistant Director of the Valley Community Center, had a relationship with the Divisional Manager of QuikTrip who stated that they could find no local organization that would accept donated, perishable foods on a daily basis while following stringent constraints of how the food was transported and handled.
After learning about the "Friday Night Meals" program, Don approached Dave Turnball, State Director of FCA about the possibility. Together, the two organizations spent several months working with QuikTrip to iron out logistics and acquire the necessary acquisitions to begin the program.
The largest and most expensive of the acquisitions was a truck with a refrigeration unit that sits in the bed.
On a daily basis, volunteers pick up the consolidated items at a nearby QuikTrip and transport it back to the Valley Community Center where it is sorted and consolidated. Each metro high school usually receives two tote-size bins full of food on each weekday - delivered in the refrigerated truck.
Requirements are that other than the sorting of the perishables, the food must remain refrigerated until it reaches the hands of the consumer and all items must either be consumed or thrown away after 48 hours of the initial pickup from the Training Table Volunteers.
The program officially began on January 12, 2015. Since that time, the Training Table has donated approximately 11,300 items each month. On the weekends, the food is delivered to the Hope Ministries in Des Moines.
On the weekdays where there is no school, the items have been donated to the Des Moines Homeless Shelter, Primary Health Care, Youth Emergency Services & Shelter and other organizations.