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CommUnity Table event set

ELKINS — The annual CommUnity Table dinner, organized by Beander’s Restaurant and Tavern and Elkins Main Street, will take place on Davis Avenue at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Large tables are placed along Davis Avenue and Beander’s provides soup and bread at no cost to members of the community. Mountaineer Insurance provides bottled water for the event.

The event had been set for last week, but a snow storm prompted a rescheduling.

Madalyn Humphrey, executive director for Elkins Main Street, backed this idea when it was first introduced last year. “(Beander’s manager) Desire (Kniffen-Watson) and (Beander’s owner) Andi (Kniffen) wanted to have an event where the community could come together,” said Humphrey.

“We could set our differences aside and just sit at the table together, and break bread and have soup together,” she continued. “The CommUnity Table was chosen as a winter event because it’s a time where the community is isolated. Not a lot of things are happening, it’s cold and you want to stay inside, so it’s forcing people to get out.”

The idea for The CommUnity Table came from the story Stone Soup. In that story, the community comes together to feed a band of soldiers that arrived in their town. The members of the community each brought a single ingredient, and together, made a pot of soup to feed the masses.

“That concept is so important for us to remember at the start of 2020,” said Humphrey. “The little efforts that we make are part of a larger picture. That’s something that Main Street definitely believes in as we are working to create a brighter future, a vibrant downtown and something we’re inspired by.”

Kniffen-Watson said continuing this event is important for her because “without the support of this community, I wouldn’t have this business.”

“I love to do things that give back,” she said. “I get very frustrated with hearing negative comments of people saying there’s nothing going on and it’s important to me to be a part of the change. You have to be the good.”

“Andi and I both decided last year that we were going to take on a community service project so I came up with the idea of the tree burning (…) and Andi wanted to do the soup table,” said Kniffen-Watson. “Hopefully, if we can get a couple of these events going, it will steamroll into even more of these events.”

“I think, in this modern day and age, we tend to get too into our social media and we forget to teach the very basic core of being a good person,” she continued. “The story of stone soup is so beautiful based on the moral of it. People really need to take that and just bring their kids out and take a few minutes to remember the simple things and how easy it is to just be a good person and to pay that forward.”

“I am very grateful to all of the owners and managers that are taking their time and resources to just do something amazing for Elkins, and I really hope that the community comes out and supports the event,” said Kniffen-Watson. “We really are hoping to see 300-500 people.”

There is not an official ‘rain date’ set for the event, but Humphrey stated that an announcement will be made 48 hours in advance if there are any changes to the event due to inclement weather.