On a warm summer night in July four food trucks, serving hamburgers, hot dogs, burritos, perogies, crepes and other such “fun food” drove into the parking lot to set up. Anticipation mounted. It was the first time Christ Church was venturing into the “food truck business” and no one knew exactly what to expect.
What a surprise to witness, between 4 pm and 8 pm, approximately 300 neighbours, friends and family descend on the lawns of the church! One could see groups of families, couples and individuals walking to the church grounds from somewhere in the neighbourhood. The remainder of the parking lot rapidly filled with cars holding people coming from somewhere in Waterloo and Kitchener.
Christ Church’s goal in this was to continue making deeper and more tangible relational links with the immediate neighbourhood and experience the church as more connected to the people of the residences surrounding the property. After that first evening, we knew that goal was well underway toward being met. The couple hundred dollars the church received from the Food Truck vendors for using the church’s property was a nice finish to the evening.
Maybe the success of that first evening was due to the warm sunny weather. Maybe it was the large trees offering shade (and shelter from the rain which fell the second night). Maybe there’s a real need in the neighbourhood for a safe, pleasant, common space for people simply to hang out with others, eat together, rest, and watch the sun set- and maybe feel less lonely. Maybe it was the careful thought given to publicizing the Food Truck event well in advance on social media and the church website, and putting out colourful signs lining the lot days before.
Whatever the case, this was a great opportunity for neighbours to meet people of the church, begin making new friends, strengthen old friendships and open up new possibilities for future relationships.
Another surprise was that the second night in July saw similar crowds come again, even in the rain! Plans are already underway to schedule the Food Trucks once a week next summer from May to September 2019. Who knows something as simple as providing comfortable, safe space for neighbours to eat together can do to bring just a bit more health, love, friendship and understanding to a world that seems more divided and harsher than ever? Who knows where this might lead?