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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

On a mission to end hunger in Mississippi

In 2009, Restaurateur Robert St. John received a call from the Edwards Street Fellowship Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Simply put, they had run out of food. Being a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, he figured the fastest, easiest way to get food to the pantry would be to call his Sysco sales representative, place an order, and have the truck dropship the order at the agency’s doorstep the next day. Robert put together an order and had it shipped to the pantry just in time to make sure that the clients who were depending on Edwards Street to feed their families got the food they so desperately needed. Afterward Robert wondered if other agencies throughout Mississippi were having similar problems. He found that there was a host of organizations throughout the state who had the same need and decided to approach Sysco to propose a question: “What if every business and home had an extra table where they could feed those in need? What would that look like?” Sysco loved the idea, and Extra Table was born.

Extra Table operated for 10 years with Sysco as their sole provider of food and delivery mechanism. In the face of Covid-19, with the cost of food skyrocketing and retail sized cans scarce, Extra Table had to re-evaluate purchasing and distribution methods in order to have a constant supply of healthy food on the road to pantries meeting the need and increase in requests for food. As of April 2020 and for the first time in Extra Table’s history, we are buying by the truckload and warehousing food in order to meet the demand and maintain our mission (thanks to some good folks our warehouse is FREE to us!). CHOW has joined the Extra Table team as our food broker and close partner handling all of our purchasing, logistics, delivery and warehousing needs.

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