The Transformative Power of Community Meals
St Merkorious Charity is dedicated to making a difference in the life of people facing poverty and homelessness. Through this community meals have been able to bring positive outcomes to many individuals. Community meals are another way for people to communicate and engage with other others. Health and Wellbeing are greatly impacted when sharing meals with one another in which eating together is associated with impacting our well-being, health, and relationships.
The Benefits of Sharing a Community Meal
Sharing a meal comes with great benefits to people of all ages. Sharing a meal is the key to promoting better behavioral, social, and physical health. Through this individuals are improving their social connections and can gain a greater sense of belonging.
For younger generations sharing a meal may improve their social skills and behavior while older adults won’t feel as isolated and instead feel happier in a group setting. Eating together allows individuals the opportunity to connect through talking and sharing in which they can enjoy each other’s company without any digital distractions. This further promotes a comfortable and relaxed environment for everyone to feel safe and secure.
``Each meal is an opportunity to express yourself to others, sharing a different perspective of your personality.`` - Author: Margaret Chapman
The Importance of Sharing a Meal
Sharing a meal means that you are taking the opportunity to gain a higher level of communication and socialisation skills that builds towards long term benefits. For young children, living in an environment that accounts for valuing the time to eat and share a meal together provides them with the knowledge of healthy food choices and future habits. Further to this parents are able to teach their children the importance of ignoring any surrounding distractions while sharing a meal and to listen to the person speaking. Conversely children are able to express themselves in a safe and loving environment in which these habits will continue to develop throughout adulthood.
Eating Together Decreases Social Isolation
An important aspect of an elderly person’s life is to connect with the people around them to ensure that they do not feel alone and isolated. Through this a shared meal with other individuals in this same situation allows them to better their mental, physical and social health. Engaging in spending time and having a meal together allows loneliness to be reduced for elderly individuals. Through this, there is a lower risk of them developing health issues such as depression, dementia, and obesity. The introduction of a shared meal further becomes an important aspect in engaging the wider community with elderly people in which social isolation can be greatly reduced. For older individuals, it is important to maintain healthy eating habits while battling loneliness. Through this having a regular meal pattern and being able to connect with other people allows a structure that further creates a sense of control and belonging.
St Merkorious Charity has involved itself since its founding in 2013 by organising community meals for the elderly, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and the people who need connection the most. We understand why community meals are important and have witnessed their transformative effects on ourselves as we work on the front line. Not only are they provided a hot, nutritious, and filling meal that lifts the mood and assists with any food insecurity people are experiencing, but we also provide a warm and welcoming community through our staff, volunteers, and their fellow attendees.
We fully support the continuation of our current community meals in Rhodes and Fairfield, and are looking to provide more meals in the future for more Australians to come, participate, enjoy food, and stay connected no matter the circumstance, age, gender, or otherwise. By advocating for community meals, we hope to see more programs providing community meals in our Sydney suburbs in the future.