Celebrating 5 Years at the Commons: A Conversation with Paulette Williams, Neighbor, Co-founder of A Beautiful Balance Inc. and Community Change Makers Book Club member.

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Celebrating 5 Years at the Commons: A Conversation with Paulette Williams, Neighbor, Co-founder of A Beautiful Balance Inc. and Community Change Makers Book Club member.

In our third edition of the blog series, Celebrating 5 Years at the Commons–celebrating Martha’s Table’s 5th anniversary at The Commons in Southeast DC–we sat down with Paulette, a neighbor, entrepreneur, community advocate, and active member of our book club. Paulette’s deep-rooted connections with Martha’s Table and Ward 8 offer an insightful glimpse into  Martha’s Table’s impact over the past five years.


Meet Paulette Williams


Q: Paulette, could you give us an overview of how you first connected with Martha’s Table?


Paulette: I became acquainted with Martha’s Table before it even existed in my neighborhood. My curiosity led me to community meetings discussing the development plans across the street from my residence. When Martha’s Table won the bid for the property, it felt like divine intervention. It has been a truly enriching experience for me, starting from the very first meeting to see how the organization has grown and how each director has put their unique stamp on its mission.


Q: In one word, how would you describe Martha’s Table as a neighbor?


Paulette: Blessing. From supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to serving as a cultural hub, Martha’s Table has been an oasis in a food desert.


Q: Could you share some of the positive changes you’ve seen in the neighborhood due to Martha’s Table’s presence?


Paulette: Absolutely. Their outreach initiatives have truly transformed our community. The Thanksgiving drives, educational programs, and even the music events that I could enjoy right from my porch are some of the wonderful impacts Martha’s Table has had.


Q: What does it mean to you that Martha’s Table is celebrating its five-year anniversary at The Commons?


Paulette: It signifies that Martha’s Table has not only rooted itself deeply in the community but also has lived up to its promises. They’ve been a significant support, even awarding a grant to my non-profit, A Beautiful Balance Inc., through the Martha’s Table Community Impact Fund.


Q: Were you involved in the strategic planning conversations and meetings?


Paulette: Yes, I was. The process was quite inclusive, and it felt like my voice mattered. Martha’s Table has consistently met community needs, whether it’s parking issues or effective leadership familiar with Ward 8.


Q: Do you have a memorable experience with Martha’s Table?


Paulette: One standout moment was when they allowed [A Beautiful Balance Inc.] to host a young entrepreneurship program at Martha’s Outfitters. The event was a resounding success, and it demonstrated Martha’s Table’s commitment to empowering the community.


Q: What are you looking forward to the most as Martha’s Table continues its mission?


Paulette: I’m excited about the prospect of introducing a sewing class at Martha’s Table. It would be the perfect blend of convenience, community, and skill-building. [Martha’s Table] is on a great trajectory, especially with its focus on hiring from the local community. If anyone’s looking for negatives, they won’t find them here. I see a lot of promise in Martha’s Table, and I believe the best is yet to come.


Paulette Williams embodies the very spirit and values that make Martha’s Table a trusted neighbor in this Southeast DC community. As we celebrate our fifth anniversary, her insights and enthusiasm remind us of the importance of community involvement and the incredible impact we can achieve together. Feeling inspired? Share this story!

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