GRANT 66:

THE DINNER PARTY

02/16/2014

Anyone who's experienced the loss of a loved one knows how hard it can be to express its impact in words – and even harder, perhaps, to find a pair of empathetic ears.

Lennon Flowers and Carla Fernandez are using the power of dinner parties – that potent one-two of good food and good company – to overcome loss, with love.

Once upon a Sunday in 2010, the two women and a few close friends shared a candid meal over a lush Los Angeles back deck. The inviting atmosphere led to the releasing of feelings that were typically sealed when the subject of death surfaced. Being able to confide in others who cared and could understand allowed the circle to come to terms with their own mortality. No longer fearful, the group was free to begin living a more meaningful life in the present. And with that, the collective known as The Dinner Party was born.

Through something as simple as unstructured dinner parties, folks can come together, from anywhere in the world, and spill the beans they’ve been keeping tucked away in storage for so long. With equal portions of laughter and bread over the table, victims of tragedy start to see what may be the most influential event from their past, as a testament to the power of life. TDP is changing the way we approach life after loss, and they’re taking their recipe to go this summer, to meet with and start new circles. AWB grant funding will allow the party to stage a cross-country roadshow, while documenting the experiences of participants to share over an international network.

Have a soft spot for family dinner? Pull up a chair and get to know some extended family at The Dinner Party’s homepage. If you know what it’s like to lose a loved one, connect with TDP on Twitter and Facebook, and spend time with some friends you may not have met – yet.