Figuring out how to host community suppers at the church

Submitted by Nastinia Bailey on December 20, 2013 - 7:59pm

We've been experimenting with hosting "community suppers" at our church and I'm curious if anyone else is having success at something like this. We tried an open invite to the community by posting on the Neighbourhood Association FB page but it was mostly word of mouth invites that seemed to bring people out. We've had 50-80 people coming out on the Friday evenings. We don't ask people to bring anything and we ask for donations. The menu is usually chili, baked potatoes, a salad and a dessert still warm from the oven.

A few of us volunteer to cook most of the afternoon. Some other folks from church asked how they can help so they clean up. It is working suprising well (great energy and conversations happening over good food) with a few challenges:

  1. volunteer burnout
  2. kids run unsupervised throughout the church which concerns some people

We thought we'd try the next one at a nearby church that has an indoor gym to see if that helps the kid chaos.  What have others tried that works? Do tell the diaster stories too...

Comments:
Great!

This is a great idea! Glad to hear this is still happening.

Is the fear that in making it a weekly potluck (instead of having volunteers cook each week), people won't be able to attend, since they won't have the time (or will feel intimidated) to bring a meal?

I imagine many people who come, likely work on a Friday afternoon and likely wouldn't be able to help cook for that reason.

I like the idea of cooking together, though- seems like another great opportunity to connect with others.

Do you have many youth in the area? Maybe they could help after school for a couple of hours and get some volunteer hours to do so?

Our church meets in a church and having a gym for kids to play and run around in is KEY! I think switching to a church with a gym will solve the children running wildly problem.

Others? Any ideas?