Franklin Golden Photography

Good begins in her kitchen

A Benevolent Table  |  While other girls her age were kicking back with a Teen Beat or Sassy magazine, 13-year-old Jill Sergison was studying Martha Stewart Living and Miss Manners. Entertaining is in her DNA; cooking is her love language.

So it makes perfect sense that hospitality is her go-to for giving back.

Every few months, Jill opens her Durham home to paying guests for a cooking lesson, a shared meal, and an opportunity to do good. The dinner series is called A Benevolent Table, and it raises money for charities including Methodist Home for Children.

“A Benevolent Table is about coming together, learning how to make delicious food, having some drinks, making new friends, enjoying a delicious dinner,” Jill says. “But it’s also about using this bounty and community for good.”

The idea came to Jill after her husband, Peter, was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma a couple of years ago. The news was devastating to their family of four – but the response from friends, and even people Jill didn’t know that well, was immediate and overwhelming.

Within hours, they loaded her countertops and refrigerator with meals that kept coming for months.

The love and care represented by all that food – shared with her family at its most vulnerable time – was an enormous comfort. And while sharing a meal with friends or strangers has always felt like an act of faith to her, A Benevolent Table has created a way for Jill to give thanks and give back by doing something she loves.

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Writing a check is great, but sometimes it’s more fun to give as a group or through a project you love. Talk to us at [email protected].