How to Share Your Meal with Strangers for Thanksgiving

Can't be with your loved ones for Thanksgiving? What better way to give thanks for the abundance in your life and celebrate generosity than to share your dinner with strangers?

Every year millions of Americans travel across the country by car or air to gather around the dinner table with family, creating 50% greater emissions during the holiday. Still many stay home, some eat with friends, and others suffer without anything to eat. Last year, 17.2 million households in the United States were at record levels of food insecurity, including 3.9 million children. Meanwhile, others are now so far across the country from their family that it’s hard to justify the high cost of travel for a long weekend.

But you don’t have to be lonely on Thanksgiving or any other holiday. Below are a few ideas how to celebrate Shareable style. 

Potlucks are are a great way to build community locally, developing your “friend family." Just make an email invite and create a list of items like salad, meat, sides, and dessert that folks can sign up for (google docs can help coordinate signups). There are more potluck tips here. Or volunteer at a local soup kitchen and stay to eat and share conversation.

If you want to make new friends or have stimulating conversation with travelers, Meal Sharing hosts are also opening up their homes and hearts in order to make sure folks in their community aren’t alone this holiday. Meal Sharing is a website that connects travelers and locals over home cooked meals and this Thanksgiving they are hosting an initiative called ThanksSharing.

"I especially love hosting and have been entertaining friends and family for years. I definitely want to extend this hospitality out to my neighbors and travelers. Also, we have a huge basement that has a full-on jam room with guitars, drums and keys. If you play music, we can definitely have a jam session!" says ThanksSharing host Jay from Eldersburg, Maryland.

"My meals remind me of my childhood, which have strong Greek and blue-collar American influences. I also love food from all over the world, and try to simply make things that taste good and make people happy," Kalli from Brooklyn (pictured above) explains.

As of now, there are 50 hosts signed up from coast to coast, and worldwide from Spain to India. To join, go to here, then search the list of hosts to find a meal near you. To become a host for ThanksSharing, just make a host profile and let them know you are available to host on Thanksgiving.

If you want to extend meal sharing to your everyday life, check out Cat Johnson’s review of peer-to-peer dining opportunities on Shareable. These vastly different approaches to connecting people over food creates endless opportunities for building relationships through sharing nourishment and conversation. Why not get started sharing food this holiday season?

Feel free to post your meal sharing ideas or experiences in comments below.

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