We believe that everyone deserves to eat well. That’s why we’ve partnered with FareShare who redistribute surplus food and give it to those who need it most. They facilitate thousands of meals for charities nationwide. That’s thousands of people brought together who would otherwise be hungry, lonely or vulnerable. Memories are made and lives are changed. That’s the power of food.
To demonstrate the importance of sharing a meal together, we organised a competition that would showcase the diverse variety of ways in which food brings us together. The response was crazy good.
The sheer number of stirring stories and emotional experiences made choosing a favourite a tough ask. However, having promised the winner £1000 in travel vouchers, as well as a £50 Amazon voucher to 10 runners-up, we gave it our best shot. The full list of prize winners can be found at the bottom of this post.
Our favourite story belonged to Jessica Flower. She told us about her time volunteering in Fiji, building homes, toilets, and shower blocks for rural communities affected by Cyclone Wilson. Roads and crops were destroyed, tin shacked homes were ruined. What started out as a 2 week trip, quickly turned into a 2 month stay.
The memory of the meal the local community on Qoma Island provided at the end of the project is something she’ll never forget. The occasion was a way of showing their thanks for the work the volunteers had done. A gesture made even more potent by the small community willingness to give so much, despite the fact they had so little. It was also an opportunity to celebrate time spent together and to express an appreciation for the food they shared.
Along with home-made biscuits, cake, bread and lemon tea, there were songs and dancing, traditional Fijian salusalu (floral necklaces) and lots of laughter. For Jess, “the words they said, the expressions on their faces… I left knowing a little bit of giving had made a difference in the world… and that we felt honoured to do it for them.”
For many of our runners-up, special meals are all about family. Andrena recalled a treasured meal out with her husband and three kids, showing the importance of family. For Fiona, a surprise Mothers’ Day breakfast made for an unforgettable morning.
Travel was a common theme, too. Ed, along with his wife Claire, visited Cuba and were struck by the kindness of their taxi driver and his family. Having got to know one another over delicious chicken dishes, they returned to Cuba a year later to revisit their new friends. For Ed, ‘it was a privilege to eat with them’ and a considerable act of kindness for them to prepare chicken – a meat that’s reserved for special occasions by many in Cuba.
But it’s not just eating that brings us together. The act of cooking and preparing a meal is an important communal event, too. Kristen submitted her memory of an Easter weekend spent making cakes with her daughter, sister, and niece. Three generations of the family then enjoyed their mouth-watering creations!
Entrants also told us about their dream dinner partners, top tips for mealtimes, and why eating together is important. This ranged from a meal with David Attenborough (chosen for his environmental vision and the great tales he could tell of all the places he's visited) to banning mobiles at mealtimes, how food can introduce you to new cultures, and the role sharing a table plays in easing loneliness.
Keep Up the Hard Work
We want to say a big thank you to all those who sent in your favourite mealtime moments and told us a little bit about what getting together around the dinner table means to you. Keep on coming together to eat; whether you’re friends, family, or complete strangers: mealtimes are meant to be shared.
Don’t miss out on your chance to support FareShare. Join our fight against food poverty and food waste by volunteering. Whether you’ve got an afternoon or a weekly slot, you could help volunteer at FareShare or one of their local charities. Next time you’re in Tesco or Sainsbury’s look out for the FareShare food basket where you can add your food donations too. At Honest Crust, we believe everyone deserves to eat well. We also believe that means working (and eating) together. Let’s make it happen.
Runners-Up (in no particular order)