Zonta Honors Debbie Hammett


DH1ADebbie Hammett’s voice is filled with tenderness and enthusiasm and her eyes light up as she talks about the “Kid’s Korner™” of the Community Dinner Table.  The Blackfoot Club of Zonta International presented a yellow rose to Hammett in June in recognition of her contribution to the community through her work at the “Kid’s Korner™”.

The Community Dinner Table, Inc., a non-profit organization consisting of 15 different faith groups and other volunteers, began serving dinners to the hungry in 2008.  Each Tuesday evening from the last of October through March dinner is served to the needy at the Jason Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. “We don’t judge the need,” Hammett stated., “Their need may be food, companionship or socialization.”   Hammett said of those providing the service, “This community is the most giving community, not only monetarily but voluntarily, that you could ever pray for.”  She said it is amazing to watch the inter-faith groups and volunteers work together to volunteer, serve the food, and clean up.  They have served over 36,000 meals in the last five years.

Hammett noted that children typically eat faster than parents and needed something to do while their parents or caregivers finished eating and visited.  Hammett saw the need for some type of activity for the children and the “Kid’s Korner™” was her brainchild.  She is now it’s coordinator.  Originally she began by reading to the children but that has been expanded to include crafts.  She may have from 20 to 70 attend the  “Kid’s Korner™” on any Tuesday night.  One Tuesday there were 77 children in attendance.

Shelley Mangum is Hammett’s right arm in working with the “Kid’s Korner™”  They work with the various faiths, other organizations and young people from the Bingham County Transition Center to assist with the “Kid’s Korner™”.   Hammett mentioned that one of the young men from the Transition Center was the favorite of the children and his work with the children helped him get a job later.   A new craft is introduced each week. One week a teacher brought a craft about Abraham Lincoln so the children not only learned to do a craft, but learned about history.

The “Kid’s Korner™” is for children ages 18 months to 12 years.  Children older than 12 can become mentors to the younger ones.  Sometimes the only time a child has the opportunity to color is while he or she is at the “Kid’s Korner™”.  Hammett stated that parents have started to come to the “Kids Korner™” to help their children with crafts so it is also building child/parent relationships.

Hammett commented that donations of materials or other craft supplies are always welcome.

Each year Christmas stockings are provided to the children during December, 163 in 2012.  Santa Claus also arrives to greet the children.  She noted that the L.D.S. Stakes are now making the stockings each Christmas with  beautiful embellishments and Love in every stitch.  Two hundred stockings were made last year.

Hammett also works with the Food Pantry, an expansion of the Community Dinner Table.  The Food Pantry is held each Thursday at the Senior Citizens Center from 3 pm to 6 pm where food is distributed to those in need.  Donations to the Food Pantry come from the Idaho Food Bank, Walmart, Kesler’s, Ridley’s and SEICCA. as well as individuals in the community.   People can bring a box or container, register, go through a line and obtain food.  “There is always plenty of food”, Hammett said, “I truly believe the Lord works with us in this endeavor.”

Hammett also serves her community through her work in the DOES.  She is presently first counselor in the DOES as well as a Past President.  She is also an active volunteer in her church.

Hammett said the Community Dinner Table now has a magnificent web page.  It can be reached at www.communitydinnertable.org.  She stressed that there are no paid officers, no paid volunteers,  and all donations whether monetary or in kind goes back into the community.  She noted that everyone is welcome to volunteer and that information can be found on the website.

The Blackfoot Club of Zonta International appreciates Hammett’s service to our community.

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