Join the Family Dinner Project Movement
This post represents a compensated editorial partnership with The Family Dinner Project. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.
Friends, with all the consumerism and shopping going on now, it’s important to remember to give back to our communities too. That’s why I wanted to tell you about The Family Dinner Project. The Family Dinner Project’s mission is to inspire families to enjoy food, fun, and conversation together. It need not be fancy; the point, in fact, is to return to a simpler and more meaningful way of being. This simplicity is particularly poignant given the different ways that we all define families and our communities. For me, there are huge overlaps between my family and my community so the ideas behind this project mean a lot to me as a chicana woman.
When it comes to giving back to my community, my mom is one of my biggest inspirations. As a child, she worked full-time and always came home to cook dinner for my whole family. She always did her best to provide nutritional and balanced meals and as a family, we made it a point to eat together. I saw how selfless she was for the four of us. Even though I’m not a mother, I can appreciate how much time and effort and energy she put into caring for us and feeding us, especially given how much she worked during the week. I have so much gratitude for her. But her love and service doesn’t stop there.
Today, my mom also volunteers for a local church. Every week, she goes with my neighbor to help out with their clothing drives that offer free clothing to people who need it. And once a month, the church group hosts a dinner where they prepare and serve warm food to the poor. After my dad died a few years ago, I would always encourage her to take up a hobby or find some way to get out and be social. I believe she truly found an activity that soothes her soul and those of others.
Every morning, my mom takes walks to a local park for exercise. When she does this, she does little things like bringing nuts to leave for the squirrels she sees and saying hello or chatting with the neighbors she sees along the way. Recently, my mom noticed that a homeless woman was living in the park. It took my mom less than a day to begin to bring her food as well. So far, my mom and some other neighbors have brought this woman warm and non-perishable food, toiletries, a sleeping bag and more. This small simple act of giving is a big deal to me because I know my mom doesn’t have a lot of money to spare. While she is a different less-disadvantaged kind of poor, seeing her give to someone who has it much tougher than her has a deep resonance with me. I am full of gratitude for having grown up with a mother that is such a selfless woman.
This season (and all year really), The Family Dinner Project is encouraging you to get together with your family and to celebrate each other, food and giving forward. The Family Dinner Project is honoring Giving Tuesday (December 2) and the holiday season in general by inspiring dinner-oriented acts of giving. The infographic above gives you concrete but simple ideas for how you can take part in the movement and honor Giving Tuesday. Here are seven more:
- Cook (or buy) a meal for a neighbor or someone in need
- Invite someone for family dinner
- Collect and donate food items to a food pantry
- Help deliver meals via a community organization
- Cook a meal together at home where everyone has a job (this is a gift to the one that usually does all of the cooking)
- Give the gift of meaningful conversation (check out the conversation starters here)
- Talk about giving during family dinner and show us what you decide to give this season
Between December 2-16, join the movement to kick off #familydinnerforward, an initiative (and fun contest!) to inspire families to give – within the family to one another and/or to those outside the family.
You and your family can join the movement by sharing photos of your dinner-oriented acts of giving via Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FamilyDinnerForward. You can share as many photos as you like and all photos tagged on Twitter or Instagram with #familydinnerforward between December 2-16 will be entered to win prizes from Lenox! Two winners will be drawn at random and will receive four 4-piece plate settings of the Lenox Entertain 365 pattern of their choice (estimated value of $344-400 depending on pattern chosen)! US entrants only.
I know I’ll be entering multiple times, not only for the prize but to participate in the movement. My mom and I are also working together to make sure her homeless friend has a warm dinner on Thanksgiving.
How will your family be participating in The Family Dinner Project this season? I would love to hear your creative giving ideas!