No chef? No problem! Residents bring food to Neighbour Night in Birmingham

Jennifer, Newingham, church planting England, Companions for Hope, Neighbour Nights

When the chef bowed out 24 hours before the community-wide food event sponsored by Companions for Hope (CfH) in Birmingham, England, the team could have panicked! But instead, they used the hitch to make the event even better.

Companions for Hope, a Christian intentional collective of neighbors in the Summerfield neighborhood of Birmingham, engages with and participates in the community through a wide array of meaningful activities, including the monthly Neighbour Nights.

Jennifer, Newingham, church planting England, Companions for Hope, Neighbour Nights

The team didn’t know if their neighbors would bring food for the monthly Companions for Hope Dinner, but everyone pitched in and there were even leftovers to take home.

“This is a community-wide event of food and fellowship,” said CMF team member Jennifer Newingham who works with CfH along with other CMF teammates. “Typically, this event is catered by an organization that rescues food waste.

“Our team has been talking about ways to increase community involvement and ownership by asking everyone to bring favorite dishes, but we hadn’t found the right time to implement the idea,” added Jennifer. “Then, our hand was forced.”

So, the team got the word out that this Neighbour Night would be the first “bring and share” event.

“Our CfH team was nervous,” Jennifer admits. “Would people bring food? Would we have enough food?

“But we didn’t give our neighbors enough credit!” she said. “The community showed up big time. We had so much food that people were able to take leftovers home with them. I was in awe of our neighbors’ commitment to one another and that they were invested enough in this monthly meal that they would rather bring a dish themselves than see it be cancelled.”

Jennifer was also struck by the variety of food that was provided.

“With more than 50 people in attendance and 12 nationalities represented, you can imagine that it was a diverse meal,” she said. “It was a meal that represented this neighborhood and its residents, whom God loves so very much!”

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