Neighbors+Food=Community Building

A couple weeks ago, I spent the evening with my neighbors at a neighborhood faith center. Most of them I didn’t know, a few I did. I met this one young woman. We talked about our religions. We talked about our jobs. She’s single, I’m married with kids. She’s a teacher, I’m HIPAA compliance officer. She’s a chatterbox, me too. 🙂 We found out that while we have some differences, we have more similarities.

13510952_10154249027650890_1398854594921345662_nThe evening opened with a couple speakers. Then we had a prayer service. Then we had food and conversation. Everyone mingled. It was like one big family get together. Kids running all over, food being consumed, friends being made, neighbors coming together.

As I took a moment to let the moment sink in, to people watch for a moment, I realized we were all laughing and chatting and eating. Maybe it was the food (that’s kind of universal). Maybe it was the atmosphere. Maybe it was a neighborhood thing. Maybe it was just people being friends. I was grateful for such a great neighborhood. I appreciated the sweet “coming together” feeling. I appreciated the mutual respect. I loved all the laughter.

I was grateful for the open/extended hand of friendship from both sides of the isle…. A mayor, Catholic, Mormon, Lutheran, Muslim, interim president of the local university, a local congressman, teachers, photographers, business owners, moms and dads. One neighborhood. We were just neighbors getting together for friendship and food. I finally felt at home in Minnesota. (I’m not from here, I’m from the west coast, with lots of diversity).


Did I mention all this took place at the neighborhood Mosque? We all gathered together for an Iftar, to help our Muslim neighbors break their fast during Ramadan. I think I gained 10 pounds!