Q&A With Maggie

Maggie, I was wondering…

I really like the idea of a Soup Night in our neighborhood, but how would I get started?

  •  Decide on the best day and time; Sunday evening seems to work well for many people. And you’ll find that people appreciate knowing it’s for a specific period of time, such as 5 to 7pm.
  • Make up an informal flier, explaining your idea and inviting everyone to the first Soup Night. Make sure your address and phone number or email are easy to read.
  • Make every effort to invite all the neighbors in person. Introduce yourself and explain the idea. Like this: “Hi, I’m Mary Ann from up the block. I believe your son knows my daughter Allison. I’m hosting a neighborhood Soup Supper this Sunday, and I really hope your family can come.” Leave the flier as a reminder. If no one is home, leave the flier and try again later. For the first time, it really helps to invite people in person.
  • Make it easy on people. Don’t ask them to RSVP. Don’t ask them to bring anything (except maybe their own bowl and spoon). Don’t worry if they don’t come exactly on time.

Do you really mean that I would just open up my home to people I don’t know?

  • Yes, I mean exactly that. In all my interviews with more than 50 groups, I never heard one word about any kind of problem of the sort you are imagining. And don’t forget: the whole idea is for people to get to know each other, to become comfortable with one another. As you watch those strangers become friends, you should be very very proud of yourself. 

Soup Night

To be completely honest, there are some people in my neighborhood I don’t really care for. Do I have to invite them?

  • Well, of course you don’t have to do anything. But I hope you will end up inviting everyone. Being inclusive, rather than exclusive, is really the soul of Soup Night. And I think you might be surprised. There’s something about sitting down to table together that breaks down barriers, and I have a feeling you will learn something new about those folks that will change how you feel about them. You may find you have many things in common after all.

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