Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Building Community through Food

Today is National Hot Dog Day; at my school, we'll be celebrating by having hot dogs staying warm in crock pots available for students all day.  We'll also have salad for those who don't want hot dogs.

I went to Gordon Food Services, a much smaller version of Costco or BJs or Sam's.  It's closer to my campus and doesn't require a yearly membership fee.  People commented on the quantity of hot dogs that I was buying, but I worried that I wasn't buying enough.  I can always come back, if people eat more hot dogs than I'm anticipating.

As I loaded the groceries in the car, the man beside me told me about his dogs and how well they eat and how he drives in this junker of a car so that his dogs can eat well.  He also told me about the documentary that turned him against hot dogs.

Have I been having more strange encounters lately or am I just more aware of them?

Yesterday before I went to get the hot dogs, we had a pot luck for the faculty and staff who work at the school.  It was delicious and bountiful, the way a pot luck should be.

In the background, my brain returns again and again to the closing of the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale.  I remember a National Hot Dog day of a past year when I was surprised at how popular the hot dogs were; the administrator team handed them out, and I was surprised by the gratitude of the students.

It was a time of increasing desperation:  how can we improve morale?  There was much scoffing at the idea of hot dogs as a cure, but the years where we had more of those kinds of activities were years that students and faculty alike seemed happier to be there.  It couldn't erase the pain of the periodic staff reductions, but it was better than the years when we couldn't find money for events like a hot dog day.

I feel fortunate to be at a school that has the money for these kinds of events.  I know how important they are for building a school that is more than a school.  I'm working to build a supportive community:  food events go much further towards that goal than I originally thought.

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