Today marks the day where my food pantry dinner parties have changed since I started them in 2009.
Initially, I swiped the concept from Weight Watchers that for every pound I lose, each of my guests had to bring a pound of food for the local food pantry.
I held fast to that rule for the longest time, but now, I let people bring what they want and because of my financial situation, people have even chipped in to keep the dinners going.
One of the most wonderful unexpected outcomes from these dinners, is how I've met some great women and gotten to know others better. I've always opened up my table to allow my friends to bring their friends. Because I've adopted this attitude, I have gotten to make some new friends and catch a glimpse into the lives of people I may have never met in my everyday travels.
The conversations are warm, funny and honest. We share the struggles and joys of husbands, children, finances and aging (both us and our parents). It's one conversation with 6 to 8 women. We share tales or listen to others. No conversation is off limits and I never want anyone around my table to feel excluded or exclude others.
I've always read about the strong bonds women form and have friendships that are over 40 years long. However, I've gotten to see first hand how putting together a group of women, random strangers, for this one night a month, can create one of the most enriched evenings because of open conversations.
I have many things I can be sad about because of the lose of my job, but if I hadn't lost my job, I may have never started these dinners. Now...I can't imagine not having them.