Who is Your Neighbor?

We organized neighborhood potlucks for years when our kids were younger and then every year afterward, we would say, “We need to do this again.” Somehow, 10 years slipped by.  Last year, we promised this would change.

In the dark, cold winter of 2016 walking door-to-door to 25 neighbors with an invitation for a potluck dinner, we were met with surprise and delight.  Several neighbors had lived in the neighborhood for years but had yet to meet others.  Others had intended to organize such a gathering but never got around to it.  And one young child greeted us at the door with joy and excitement to receive an invitation.

The neighborhood potluck was a smashing success.  22 households brought a great variety of food and drink.  As the evening progressed, conversations bubbled.  We became aware our neighborhood had become more international over the years.  It was a delight to see the comradery among neighbors and a surprise by how easy it was to bring everyone together.  All that was really required of us was extending the invitation.

As this summer neared its end, we again reached out to neighbors by hosting a Saturday evening barbeque. Again, our neighbors greeted us with joy and excitement.  We have seen these gatherings bring neighbors closer together, helping all to feel like they belong and are a community.  We intend to find more opportunities to gather as a supportive community and to help all feel welcomed.

Join the Justice & Reconciliation Team and BelPres folks to reach out to their neighbors for Welcoming Week Sep 15-24, a nationwide celebration of immigrants and refugees’s contributions, and community’s role in helping them feel at home.Host a potluck, barbecue, coffee or brunch in your neighborhood to build understanding and support between long time residents and newcomers to our land.