Community Lunch

BY Susan Stevens

Chilmark Middle School

Project Description
The community lunch involves students in preparing healthy meals, often using fresh produce from our garden. It brings the community together with parents, teachers, students and local visitors sharing the meal together. We set up the Community Center with tables covered with tablecloths, real dishes, silverware and a menu. Students learn how to stay seated during the meal, wait for others before starting to eat, wait for all to complete meal before leaving the table, and learn how to carry on conversations with adults while waiting for everyone to finish.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
We have had several community lunches and the students love being involved, and love eating healthy meals. Parents clammer to be the ones to volunteer and community members request to attend.

Benefit to the students and the school
Supporting the community, teaching students manners, bring the community together, learning about local foods, discovering new healthy foods. Our June lunch includes the Vineyard Sounds guys and the students love meeting them, talking with them, and listening to them sing. After lunch The Vineyard Sound return to our building where we divvy up the students and each of the singers takes a group and teaches them their specific harmony, then we come together as a whole school and sing. Many of the students mention this in their 5th grade graduation speeches as being a favorite activity.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
We usually start with our first community lunch in October, have one in Jan., one in March and a final lunch in June.