Local restaurant offers community meal, hope
Volunteers man the food line during the annual community meal at Tam’s Backstage restaurant on Monday as the next group of diners arrives. - photo by Jim Dean

The community gathered this week at a popular Forsyth County restaurant to offer meals and hope.

On Monday, organizers held the 13th annual Helpings of Hope dinner at Tam’s Backstage. The gathering provides meals to local non-profit organizations and others in the community.

“We are giving back to the community and providing an opportunity for many people in the community that are in the business and school system and various neighborhoods to come in and give back,” said Brian Tam, owner of the restaurant.

Helpings of Hope
A.J. Ferrer, who volunteered along with dad Drew works on the serving line. - photo by Jim Dean
Helpings of Hope was split into three meals: one in the morning, afternoon and evening. Tam said the morning meal for seniors saw its largest ever turnout and there was a good response from the others.

“We had our largest turnout ever — over 100 people — for our first lunch from the senior center, then we had a couple dozen, maybe a little less, meals to go for those that didn’t make the trip,” he said. “Afterward, No Longer Bound joined us with Three Dimensional Life, and then tonight, they’re still trickling in from the various groups in the community.”

Amber Kelly, a direct care specialist with Jesse’s House, an emergency children’s shelter, said clients were blown away by the evening meal.

“I think it’s really nice,” she said. “A lot of my girls when they walked in were like, ‘ I’ve never been in a place this fancy.’ They’re really enjoying it. They’re liking the atmosphere.”

Kelly said it the group was appreciative of the support from the community.

“It’s really sweet,” Kelly said. “We don’t want them to feel forgotten … it’s just nice that people know and that they care.”

Several members of the community came out to volunteer for the meal including principals Gary Davison of Lambert High School and Laura Wilson of Forsyth Central.

“The support the community gives our schools really is how we make it through,” Wilson said, “so for us to be able to turn around and give back to the community, and something like this at this time of the year, it’s that nice, ‘I’m actually doing something for the season’ [feeling]”

The principals sent the day busing tables, talking to people, serving meals from the line and serving drinks.

Of course, there was a lot of food needed to feed the more than 300 who attended.

“I’d say we’re going to do close to 100 pounds of turkey and close to about 75 pounds of ham,” Tam said. “We’ll do over a hundred pounds of sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes as well, so that’s a lot of potatoes to peel.”