The purpose of food is to provide nourishment to our bodies. But, food does so much more; food truly brings us all together.
This week Habitat kicked off its 86th house in Sangamon County. At the kickoff ceremony, Rev. Dr. Clifford J. Hayes with First Presbyterian Church, invited all of us to imagine the new Habitat homeowner, Carolyn Logan, cooking her favorite family meal and serving it to her family in her new home. To imagine Carolyn cooking and serving a family meal in her home that was built through the commitment of volunteers and the financial support of the community, was truly overwhelming. I knew that not only me, but everyone in the room was dedicated to making that vision come true.
Also this week, our community lost a culinary extraordinaire, Caitie Barker, in a tragic car accident. Over the past four years, Caitie created a downtown destination at her restaurant, Caitie Girls. After her passing, those who frequented her restaurant posted comments online recalling all the fond food memories from her restaurant (dinners with loved ones, bridal showers, celebration dinners). My mother also owned a restaurant before her passing in 2009. She was an amazing woman, and after her passing I recall all the comments from folks who were going to miss her chicken salad, cookies and cinnamon rolls. One way that both Caitie and my mother connected with others was through their food, which became clearly evident after their passings, through the reflections of those mourning their deaths.
Food can often be a significant part of our experiences and memories. As such, it is not something to be overlooked (even if there are 20 other things higher on the to-do list).
Here are some easy ways to incorporate fun food memories into your office world to bring people together:
- Jazz up a meeting: Who doesn’t love showing up to a committee meeting to find you are being treated to some yummy snacks? Treat your volunteers to a treat every now and then and watch them smile as they enjoy the food! Staff meetings also become much more fun when lunch is involved. Sounds simple, but when was the last time you broke bread with your colleagues?
- Candy dish: Those who have worked with me know that I always have a candy dish in my office. By having the company chocolate stash in my office, I can be assured to have other staff members visit me in my office for casual conversation and their chocolate fix. I’ve learned lots from my coworkers during our quick candy chats!
- Surprise treat: So, everyone loves Santa Clause, and they really love the treats that show up for no reason. Doughnuts because it is Tuesday. Fudge because it is Friday Fudge Day. Ice cream because everyone has worked hard this week. I will tell you, it is not expensive, just takes a little time to think of others at your office. Plus, it is fun to enjoy the treat with them!
Do you have a way food strengthened your connections with volunteers or staff members? If so, post a comment to share your experiences.