This December, The Long Table is inviting members of the Stroud district community and beyond, to #EatTogether at one of many Longest Table events, writes Jess Saunders.
As an initiative of The Long Table, The Longest Table is calling on you to join together this Christmas over a simple and delicious meal. You’re invited to host a Longest Table event, where people in local communities can congregate and share that sense of community and connection during the festive period.
One of The Long Table’s main missions is to combat loneliness by bringing people together around – you guessed it, a really long table! That’s because research shows that 1 in 20 people suffer from loneliness, and the feeling is known to be intensified around the festive season.
As we all know, Christmas 2020 had its drawbacks. However, despite the physical separation, The Long Table made sure that 3500 people ate well in the county, via their Comfort and Joy project. It inspired a sense of community and connection – which is how the project made a real difference at such a difficult time.
In order to build on the Comfort and Joy Christmas project this year, The Longest Table starts on Monday, December 13th and runs through to Sunday,December 19th.
During these 7 days, workplaces, churches, streets, clubs, neighbours and friends will unite around warming bowls of nourishing food. Colleagues can get that extra Christmas party in at lunchtime and communities will use village halls to host festive feasts. Friends and families can even use this as an opportunity to carve out an hour (or two) and unite around one table – long or short because everyone is invited to take part.
The Longest Table’s mission is to bring people in the community together this Christmas. While The Long Table champions a Pay As You Feel model, there’s no expectation to donate. The organisation will be holding their own Longest Table for the 90+ volunteers that have helped in preparing the new site, and any money raised will go directly to the Refugee Community Kitchen.
If hosts or guests in the community would like to support The Long Table, they’re asking you to sign up to their newsletter, join their Friends subscription to support their work or maybe even gift a subscription to someone who loves great food. If hosts of the Longest Table events would like to donate money from their event this year, then they’re invited to choose a charity of their choice to be the benefactor of any money raised.
The Long Table’s driving question is “what if everyone in our community had access to great food and people to eat it with?” And one of the most important things to the organisation is that people are able to enjoy eating together once again this Christmas. Hosting a Longest Table event is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
The Long Table Founder, Tom Herbert, says: “The Long Table exists because we love, love, love to eat together. When the food is great and the company around the table wants to be there, life is good. When everyone’s invited, no one is left outside, special things start to happen.
“Gratitude is shown and plans are made to make the world a better place. Stories are shared that make us laugh and wonder, people fall in love, loneliness is banished and sorrows are soothed. And we can celebrate because we are together.
“Last Christmas was a debacle – three days with family, shrank to one and we all did what we could to keep each other safe. This December, we are doing something super special and we’re inviting you to be part of it.
“We’ve put the best of our learning about hosting and cooking into a downloadable pack and we invite you to take the glowing ember of The Long Table experience and make it your own.
“It’s a special way of thanking people we’ve been smiling at under our masks, to be a part of something bigger, something needed and something new. We’ll add all the tables together because everyone counts.
“Start small – gather one or two people to raise a glass and share a meal because we’ve made it this far. Or go massive, with a decorated table down the centre of your street, because you can.
And you and me, we can create a Christmas to remember.”
You can get involved by hosting a Longest Table this Christmas between 13th – 19th December. Sign up HERE where you will find The Longest Table downloadable pack, which includes the blueprint to run your own event, along with recipe ideas, a Spotify playlist, invites and more.
If you host a meal or visit one, share your photos and videos by tagging The Long Table on Instagram and Facebook, and by using the hashtags #TheLongestTable #EatTogether. The Long Table is scheduled for reopening in 2022, and when they do, everyone is invited to join them for lunch at Brimscombe Mills.