Why does all great conversation and community center around food? People gather in kitchens, hover over the appetizer table, and invite loved ones over to share a meal—to share what they have with those they care for. That feeling you get after feeding your stomach and soul with friends and family is how our Parents Anonymous program thrives.
Last week, I had the joy of serving the Thanksgiving meal for Parents Anonymous participants alongside other staff and service learning students. As a recovering foodservice employee, I braced myself for flashbacks of annoyed customers and sneezy children on the buffet line. I couldn't have been more wrong.
With a sense of belonging and purpose, our participants came through the food line and took modest amounts of food, wanting to be sure those behind them had enough to eat. The children said "please" and "thank you" with every portion and put my manners to shame. The parents, grateful for the opportunity to eat, relax and talk about real issues with their peers, sat together and leaned on one another for support. I couldn't look away.
The love and support that I felt at Parents Anonymous that day was spurred by my love of good food but solidified by the compassion of the participants around me. They helped me understand that just a little bit of food can go a very long way in making people feel safe and loved. This week, I will get to sit beside my family and friends knowing why I am thankful and my hope is for every one of you to feel the same. Thank you for supporting our programs and for making lives, right here in the Treasure Valley, happier and healthier every day.