By Lauren Bedford
More than 400 turned out last week as the Woodlawn Foundation hosted dinner at two long tables lining 55th Place South in Woodlawn for its second annual Sunday Dinner.
With warm weather, delicious food and jazzy tunes, it was a beautiful time for a community gathering.
Woodlawn Sunday Dinner is an annual fundraiser created by, and benefitting, Woodlawn Foundation. The foundation focuses its efforts on breaking the cycle of poverty in the community and creating a sustainable area where all residents can thrive and contribute. Woodlawn Sunday Dinner offers a backdrop where people of different backgrounds can share a meal and make new friends.
“We’ve got sponsors, key stakeholders and residents who normally wouldn’t have an excuse to get together and swap stories and make new friends,” said Clark Virden, of the Woodlawn Foundation. “This is exactly what we wanted to have happen — for them to sit down at a communal table, share a plate of soul food, and be surrounded by people. It’s an opportunity for lots of different conversations to take place.”
This was the second year of the event. Last year, attendees numbered around 350, and this year surpassed that with well over 400.
More than 10 local restaurants participated in the event by preparing their favorite soul food dishes. Little Donkey obliged by smoking a whole hog onsite while Post Office Pies prepared beans and peas. Fried corn (Dirty Red), potatoes au gratin (Bayles) and greens from Saw’s rounded out guests’ overflowing plates that left barely enough room for Sugartits Kitchen’s cornbread.
After dinner Kenya from Velvet Kake was running the dessert table with delicious sweet treats. Big Spoon Creamery even offered their signature ice cream sandwiches to those who hadn’t had enough.
“In close knit communities, the words ‘Sunday Dinner’ evoke images of food, family and fellowship,” said organizers. “Here in Woodlawn, we believe that still rings true for those who share the common thread of this community’s revitalization efforts.”
Chances are, you grew up with some version of a “Sunday Dinner” or “Sunday Supper.” A traditional Sunday dinner stirs up feelings of family, large quantities of food and laughter. Everyone is there for the same objective: to eat, to see friends and to enjoy the afternoon. Woodlawn Foundation invites everyone to their community table.
“We wanted to create an event that would bring people into the Woodlawn community,” said Virden. ““The premise of the event is to spend an afternoon in our neighborhood sharing a meal together. We take care of you. When you walk in that gate, you’re our guest.”
New Orleans Jazz band Chuck and The Kings provided the tunes and sponsors included Medical Properties Trust, Protective Life Corporation and Regions Bank.
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