“My dad is helping,” Jenny said pointing to a man with a beard standing behind the counter placing a potato on each person’s plate. “I’m supposed to stay here.”
Jenny and I admired each other’s glasses and she pointed out a friend. I realized how much I missed “girl talk” since our daughters are grown. As I looked around, I saw some people I knew, but many that I didn’t, yet felt akin to all. We were all there for the same reason—to support a family in need where the mother of four children, ranging from preschool to high school, has an inoperable brain tumor. There are lots of expenses, not only medical, but personal. People had donated time, food, money, and more for this event, the culmination of many hours.
Besides food, many people donated items for a silent auction. It was a real coming together, an outpouring of care and support. I was happy to be a small part of this event, just one person, but a contributor. I thought about how food played a big part in this event. The reason for the event brought us there—to help a family—as well as more than 300 others. But the food, breaking bread, eating together, brought us closer as a community. I went to give, not expecting to receive anything other than a meal. So I was surprised by what I felt that evening. I tried to put it into words, but ended up searching for others’ words. Artist and fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli said: “Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.” Schiaparelli’s “eating well” for me meant being a part of something more, something greater than myself, a member of humanity.