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Sylva food pantry to get new roof

A combination of funding from The Community Table, the Town of Sylva and Jackson County will mean a new roof for The Community Table in 2019. Donated photo A combination of funding from The Community Table, the Town of Sylva and Jackson County will mean a new roof for The Community Table in 2019. Donated photo

The Community Table in Sylva will get a new roof to the tune of $18,000 after Town of Sylva and Jackson County commissioners voted unanimously to contribute to the project. 

A June windstorm that blew some shingles off the roof brought the need to light, Community Table Executive Director Paige Christie told town commissioners at their Dec. 13 meeting. The organization called around and got some volunteers to agree to fix it, but by the time the volunteers got some free time to look at the roof, they realized there was more going on than a few missing shingles. The roof had soft spots, areas that were flashed improperly and places where the shingles were two or three layers deep. 

“It went from we have a few shingles to fix to we need a new roof, sadly, which was not expected,” Christie told town commissioners. 

The organization got a range of quotes for the project, the lowest of which came from Lowe’s for $16,540. Adding 10 percent for contingency, the total budget would be $18,095. The Community Table has about $8,000 available for the repair but needs help to fully fund the project. 

In votes taken Dec. 13 and Dec. 17, respectively, the town and county boards agreed to pay $5,000 apiece for the project. 

The town, which owns the building, will pay for the entire project upfront. Commissioners voted to transfer the money from the town’s capital reserve fund into its facility maintenance fund for the project. However, the county will repay the town $5,000 of that cost and The Community Table will contribute $8,000. The town will pay the remaining $5,095. 

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“I think The Community Table is too big of an asset to leave a building in disrepair,” said Sylva Commissioner David Nestler as the board prepared to vote. 

“They offer so much to our community. I think we definitely need to take care of it,” agreed Commissioner Barbara Hamilton. 

Town Manager Paige Dowling said that she couldn’t determine when the roof was last replaced, though in going through old meeting minutes she saw that in 2003 the board talked about how the roof needed repair. 

The Community Table is a nonprofit entity that provides meals to those in need. By the end of November, it had served 27,646 meals in 2018 and provided 9,238 bags of groceries. Christie said those numbers represent a steady average in terms of meals per night but that the organization has been seeing a significant number of new people using its services — recent job losses in the area such as the closure of Ryan’s Steakhouse have hit some people hard, she said. 

“Every month we’re seeing hundreds of new people who have never walked through the door before,” she said. 

With the funding in place, the roof repair will likely be completed when warmer weather returns and labor is available, around March. In the meantime, volunteers have patched the more aggressive leaks. 

“We’re just so glad of the community support,” said Christie. “It is just overwhelming how much support we have from this community. I am so grateful and our board is so grateful.”

To donate to The Community Table, visit

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