Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Activity 4: Food Feast

Part of Families

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Table set-up for the feast, including flatware, plates, napkins, and cups
  • Food and drink (pre-arranged and prepared)

Preparation for Activity

  • Contact leaders and participants and ask them to bring foods that are part of their family life. Sending a reminder note or e-mail during the week is helpful as well. Invite participants to bring a place setting from home to contribute to the table-any variety is fine. This will make the table look like the mish-mash of family members that it is!
  • Arrange the space to accommodate the feast.

Description of Activity

There are several ways to create a family food feast. The simplest is to ask participants in advance to make and bring in a favorite family food to share during the session. Note: Please review health forms for allergies and ask participants to respect dietary constraints of the group.

As you gather for the "meal," share a blessing. Ask participants if they ever say a blessing or grace before eating. Invite participants to share such blessings with the group. If participants do not share, you might offer these words of blessing:

"We give thanks for being together and for the food we are about to share."

When participants have started to share and eat food, facilitate discussion. Ask participants if there is a story behind the food they brought to the feast. Short stories are fine. Invite participants to consider the role of food in religion: Is it part of our UU heritage? If so, how? This sharing, done around the table while eating, can be interesting and fun. Ask participants, "Do you think the way you eat is influenced by your race or ethnicity? Gender? Religion? Region of the country where you live?" Explore these topics as you continue to eat. At the close of the feast, clean up together.

If there are concerns about time, consider starting the feast before Activity 2, Food and Family: A Discussion. Keep the discussion concerning grace, but instead of sharing stories about food, use the time as indicated in Activity 2. This will give you a total of twenty-five minutes to feast and clean up before moving on to Activity 3, Food Skits.

Including All Participants

This activity includes prompts that ask youth to consider differences of race, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Be alert to stereotyping and prepared to gently question and explore presumptions. Be particularly aware of youth in your group who belong to historically marginalized or oppressed groups. Do not let them become the unwilling focus of discussion.