Program brings community together over shared meal

Hadas Kuznits
June 18, 2019 - 4:00 am
A program aimed at building community through shared meals is relaunching another phase of its project.

Courtesy of Catalyst Community Conversations

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A program aimed at building community through shared meals is relaunching another phase of its project. The next community dinner takes place Tuesday night in Norris Square in Kensington and another dinner is planned for Tuesday, June 25 at Vernon Park in Germantown. 

The program is called Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers. 

"So the idea is that people who don't talk with each other might not want to come together to talk. Invite them to dinner, breaking bread together, it breaks down the barriers," said Dr. Harris Sokoloff, executive director of Catalyst Community Conversations. 

He explains the dinners are set up in public parks.  

They bring in tables, chairs, tents if necessary, with ethnic food as the centerpiece that reflects the heritage of those attending.

"You know, people can talk about food. Politics, no. Gentrification, no. But they can talk about food and it gets them together and they see each other as people, they see the commonality," he explained.

The program is funded by a grant through the Knight Foundation. 

A program aimed at building community through shared meals is relaunching another phase of its project.
Courtesy of Catalyst Community Conversations

Dr. Sokoloff says Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers has been shown to be successful.

"So this is a project, we're starting our second round of it. The first round was two years ago, and some people from the first round are still getting together on a regular basis," Sokoloff said. 

Those partnerships, he adds, have extended into friendships as well as business. 

"In Southwest Philadelphia, the African community and the African-American community, two of the leaders didn't even know each other. They now share an office in the Southwest CDC."