We all come from different backgrounds – different families, different upbringings, different traditions. And if we take a moment to reflect upon our mealtimes growing up or even today, there are probably still many differences – the foods that we like to eat, the places we like to shop to prepare our meals, who we eat with, the conversations we have.
But we also most likely have things in common. For many of us, mealtimes can be a time we connect with friends or loved ones, share stories, laugh, and hear about important things going on in our days. Amidst the chaos often going on around us in our community and in our world, mealtimes can be a place where we feel like we belong, where we feel safe, where we don’t feel judged. Mealtimes aren’t just about being fed. They are also about feeding our hearts and minds, slowing down for a moment, and making connections with others.
Family mealtimes are so important in fact, that many research studies have examined the impact on growth and development. Studies have shown that having family mealtimes lowers risk for depression, decrease risk for substance abuse, and improve overall wellbeing.
That’s the reason I feel so passionate about A Place at the Table. APATT’s vision recognizes this common human need to be fed – spiritually, emotionally and physically. Yes, we have our own families and our own family mealtimes. But we are also part of a larger family in our community. Family mealtimes are important. APATT’s vision will one day become a reality – we will create a place where people can eat, regardless of income, but also feel a part of a family, and be fed with love, encouragement and laughter.