When Susie Keefer went on a mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010, she did not know that it would change her entire life. Five years later, her purpose is clear.
She fell in love with the children fed by the Mpasa Nutritional Program, and she knew she wanted to continue to visit and help in any way she could. In her second visit, she met a 2-year-old girl named Miriam.
“There was one little girl who wouldn’t leave my arms. If I left, she cried,” Keefer said. “Her name was Miriam. When I went back, she was waiting for me like I had never left.”
Eventually, when her life circumstances changed, Miriam was up for adoption. “My husband told me to take her home,” Keefer said.
Keefer continued to work with the Mpasa Nutritional Program until Miriam was able to travel back to the United States. But when a group of Congolese women sought her out in order to show her their starving children, Keefer was devastated. She knew she had to help.
Keefer started Miriam’s Table in 2014. Celebrating its fifth year Oct. 13, the nonprofit is striving to continue helping children of the Mpasa Region of Congo with food and medicine.
When the doors first opened, they planned to feed about 150 children. In 2019, they are feeding 350 children daily and have employed seven local people.
The nonprofit teams up with local Sussex County restaurants and sponsors for Dine Out With Miriam. Once a month, a local restaurant holds a night in which 15 percent of the profits go directly to Miriam’s Table.
Recently, Miriam’s Table teamed up with the Rehoboth Sunrise Rotary Club to drill a well in the Mpasa Region, helping provide clean water.
Miriam, now 10 years old, continues to be the shining light of the mission. The whole family travels back to the Congo often to help and support.
“I never went to the Congo to bring home a child, and I certainly didn’t think I’d be feeding children. It’s been amazing to have this daughter and still keep her connected with her home. When she goes, she becomes what she needs to be there,” Keefer said.
Five years into this journey, Keefer is still both shocked and enthusiastic.
Keefer said, “It’s been such an amazing journey. We’re excited to know that what we offer these children is health. We’re excited to continue and figure out what else we can do.”
At 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20, a fundraiser and celebration for Miriam’s Table will be held at Bethel United Methodist Church, 129 W. Fourth St., Lewes. Those who wish to attend should RSVP at bethellewes.org or by calling the Bethel church office at 302-645-6496.
Retrieved from the Cape Gazette
God surely provided an amazing backdrop for our first Delaware Bay Sunset Cruise. Thankful for Cape Water Tours for partnering with us for this summer fundraiser excursion. Grateful for all these fun-loving guests who joined us! It truly was a night of smiles, laughter, and awe at the beauty around us! Thank you all for making this a pretty spectacular event!
We are excited that Heckathorn United Methodist Church has chosen Miriam's Table to be the offering focus for their Vacation Bible School this week. This is the church that Susie grew up in and she and Ed raised their children in. They have a true love for mission outreach!
The children of Heckathorn Vacation Bible School rocked it! They learned that just $.52 can provide a child just like them with a life-saving bowl of food! They bought 628 bowls of nutrition! Much love to everyone! Thank you for sharing your hearts!
January 6, 2018
We received exciting news today! Celestin came with the contractors who will begin our well project. They spent much time mapping out exactly where things will be placed. We will be posting pictures of the progress!
Deep gratitude to all of you who have been praying for this project! Please continue to pray for wisdom and safety for all those who will be working each day and for our staff and children.
Celestin Tangamo is the Rotarian who has worked many hours in preparation for this day to come and will continue to see the project through the end. He is pictured here with Susie, Miriam, and Adolphe Yamba Yamba.
December 25, 2017
We sent a special gift for our Miriam's Table families to share a Christmas day meal together. All were so happy to receive a meal with rice, chicken, and beams! The biggest blessing on Christmas day was receiving these photos of joy!
November 30, 2017
ABSOLUTE JOY OVERFLOWING!!! For the past two years, the Rehoboth Beach Sunrise Rotary Club has been working on raising funds for the drilling of a fresh water well for Miriam's Table and the surrounding community. Yesterday afternoon we received notice that the grant has been officially approved and funded!! Oh, how I wish I could be there to see, hear and feel the absolute JOY they will share when they receive the news. Fresh water will change their lives-no more sickness, blindness, and even death from waterborne diseases. I don't think there are enough words to say grateful we are! God is so good.
October 26, 2017
It was a very exciting day at Miriam's Table today. Celebrating our third anniversary! The children and guests feasted on chicken, rice and beans! Many thanks to all who support our program!
September 8, 2017
Hallelujah! Miriam's Table has solar power! Now the feeding space / worship area will have light! And the outside will be lit at night for security. What a blessing!
August 20, 2017
These pictures are from today when they celebrated worship together and then a meal
with family. Thank you to missionaries Jonathan and Donna Baker for sending these to Susie to share!
The children of Miriam's Table are so thankful for this bowl of food each day! We thank you so very, very much for your support both financially and through your prayers.
July 14, 2017
We had a spectacular week at Bethel United Methodist Church (Lewes, DE) Vacation Bible School! The children came to visit me each day to learn something new about their "neighbors" across the ocean at Miriam's Table-children just like them! We had such a good time; even learning to count in Lingala. But some of the most fun of all was the excitement of seeing the number of bowls of food growing and growing. With just 2 quarters and 2 nickels, a child would be fed...1670 bowls of food were filled!!!! We decided that our bowls of food multiplying was a miracle just like the Bible story we heard about Jesus with the fishes and loaves!
June 5, 2017
This amazing young man, Wade Stout, standing with Miriam has for three years earned over $2,300.00 for our children. For his school project, he is to spend 10 hours on a service project. We know that because he has a servant's heart, he spends many more hours advertising, selling, and baking cupcakes to be able to buy bowls of food. We are blessed beyond measure with his dedication. We thank him and his brothers Will and Wyatt and for his mom for tireless hours working alongside Wade to be successful!
April 20, 2017
SoDEL Cares becomes main sponsor of the 2017 Sussex County Empty Bowls Fundraising Event.
The Rehoboth Beach Rotary Club is so very proud to announce that SoDel Cares has become the main sponsor of the 2nd Annual Sussex County Annual Empty Bowls; Fighting Hunger One Bowl at a Time.
Did you know that 1 in 5 children in Delaware struggles with hunger? That’s why, in honoring and keeping the vision of founder Matt Haley, SoDel Cares joins with the Rehoboth Art League’s (RAL) Open Pottery Studio and School and the Rehoboth Beach Sunrise Rotary Club together with their sponsors and partners to fight hunger one bowl at a time!!! The RAL Open Pottery Studio and School has created over 500 unique bowls for this event. On April 30, doors open at 4 PM and serving from 4:30 to 7:00 at the St Jude the Apostle Parish Hall in Lewes, for $25 participants will receive a hand thrown bowl from the Rehoboth Beach Art League Open Pottery Studio and School and will then dine on delicious soups from SoDel Concepts restaurants; Blue Coast Seafood Grill and Restaurant, Rehoboth Beach, Fish On, Lewes, Matt’s Fish Camp Lewes and The Club House at Baywood. In addition to wonderful breads and cookies from Old World Bread and Bakery and Ice Cream from King’s Homemade Ice Cream, participants will be serenaded by local musicians such as; The Camp Rehoboth Chorus, and the Cape Henlopen HS Jazz Ensemble. This year’s event will also feature a wine bar.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Harry K Foundation’s to fund food pantries in Sussex County schools and increase the number of backpack filled with food to help sustain hungry children from Sussex County through weekends and over holidays. The event will also support Miriam’s Table, who are currently working in the Central Congo Episcopal Area in partnership with three Conferences of the United Methodist Church: Peninsula Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania and Western Carolina to provide meals for children in The Democratic Republic of the Congo.
From left to right: Scott Kammerer, President of SoDel Concepts, Susie Keefer Founder of Miriam’s Table, Harry Kiswani, Founder of the Harry K Foundation, Jen Myers, Chef of Plate Catering for SoDel Concepts, Sara Ganter, Chief Operating Officer for the Rehoboth Art League and Ray Bryant, President Elect of the Rehoboth Beach Sunrise Rotary Club and Chair of the Sussex County Empty Bowls fundraiser.
February 19, 2017
Thank you to Wesley and Emily Hewitt for sharing the work of Miriam’s Table with their church, Haven Community of North East, MD and choosing us as one of their Mission Outreach Ministries. To introduce the ministry to the congregation, portions of the Story of Miriam’s Table video were shared. Wes and Emily gave out bread loaf banks to families to save their coins for bowls of food, knowing that for every 52 cents, a bowl of food would be bought.
Ed, Susie and Miriam were invited to share about Miriam’s Table during worship on February 19. Susie shared some highlights, while answering questions from the congregation.
When the funding campaign was completed, Miriam’s Table received nearly $4,000 for the children!
BLESSINGS and TEARS of JOY!!!
November 9, 2016
Very special evening at Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center celebrating the Rotary Foundation. The Foundation will be the final step for our fresh water well project! Thank you to the Rehoboth Beach Sunrise Rotary for committing to bring new life to the Miriam's Table community!
September 3, 2016
So thankful for improvements being done the to Miriam’s Table cooking area. Missionary, Jonathan Baker works with a crew to rebuild our cooking area to be safer for our staff. We are grateful!