One Astoria church is hoping to bring a community together over good food and a warm environment.
During these dinners, which go on for about two hours, church parishioners and residents from the neighborhood are welcome to bring a dish to share and just hang out, according Elizabeth Lacks, one of the organizers.
According to Lacks, you do not need to bring food in order to participate. The dinners are open to those who just want to get together with neighbors and also those who might need a hot, nutritious meal.
“The potluck aspect of the supper has been a lot of fun, especially in such an ethnically diverse neighborhood as Astoria,” Lacks said. “And it’s a great way to get to know some of your neighbors; we encourage people to sit with others even if they come alone, and I have met some fascinating people.”
The community potlucks began after members of the congregation, including Lacks, came together to discuss ways to reach out to more residents in the community.
“Of course in any community there are people in need of food and friendship, and ours is no different,” Lacks said. “These dinners were the result, and they’ve grown considerably since we started.”
The goal of the dinners, which now see about 40 participants, is to provide a place where parishioners and neighbors can “find good food and fellowship,” Lacks said. Organizers hope those who attend will feel like they belong to a community.
Although the church asks for volunteers to help serve, set up and clean up, and appreciates any support it gets, the group does not distinguish between volunteers and others at the dinners. When it comes to dinner time, everyone eats together.
“As many people live New York, it’s very easy to be lonely in this city, and we hope that these dinners are a place where neighbors can meet and engage with each other in a warm and welcoming environment,” Lacks said.
If you would like to volunteer for a dinner, email Lacks at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next Community Supper Potluck is scheduled for Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.