Food As Community: Our Connection to Others

The holiday season is upon us and food is often a big part of traditions and celebration.  Some of my fondest memories include large Christmas gatherings with my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins at a relative’s home.  

As I close my eyes I recall Santa and snowmen drawings hanging on the wall accented by chain link swag made of red and green colored paper.  In the corner a decorated tree next to a cardboard fireplace with flickering lights.  Folding tables and chairs set up wherever space allowed, creating a maze that few could navigate with ease.  

On the covered table you would find platters of turkey, sausage and other savory meats.  Bowls brimming with candied yams, perfectly whipped mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, cranberry and applesauce.  Richly colored hot vegetables, an assortment of fruit salads, the curious Jell-O molds, crescent rolls just out of the oven and more.  Everything strategically placed to insure that you wouldn’t miss a thing.  And around the corner cakes, pies, cookies, candy and fudge. Each representing the spirit and generosity of its creator.

Finally the signal to bow our heads as the eldest uncle in the room led us in prayer, reminding us of our blessings bestowed upon our tribe.

Nearly 40 years have passed since our last all-inclusive family gathering.  Yet I can still recall every color, every smell, the conversations and laughter, and the energy of community.

And it is these moments when food is more than a meal.  It is an intimate experience that brings us together, shapes our memories, and empowers us to act on our blessings. 

In this spirit I invite you to consider how you can help create a special memory for those less fortunate in your community.  Whether through donation of your time or money at a local food bank, church, synagogue, hospital, residential facility, or Meals on Wheels.  The possibilities are endless and the need is real.  Food is community. It connects us.  It feeds our soul. 

May you enjoy a safe, bountiful and blessed holiday.