What is it? A neighborhood social event is a gathering, primarily for the purposes of getting to know one another and having a good time. This kind of event helps people build relationships with their neighbors and encourages community involvement. The more people feel connected to their place, the more likely they are to actively help preserve and improve it. This is also a great way to share knowledge amongst community members. Even though people are there just for fun, they are going to share news about neighborhood activities. A fun event like this is invaluable for reminding people about the positive aspects of their neighborhood.
How has it been used? Old Southwest, Inc in Roanoke, VA has been highlighted by several organizations, such as Neighborhoods, USA and the Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference, as a good example of what a neighborhood organization can be. One of the things they do every month is to host a community meal called Food with Friends. This is essentially a potluck where any resident of Old Southwest is welcome to bring a dish, enjoy the food and make friends with their neighbors. This is a very low pressure situation as people are just allowed to mill around and talk to that person they always see but have never talked to. New residents can learn all about the area’s history and meet the leaders of the neighborhood group. Long-time residents can share news and rekindle friendships. It goes a long way to helping foster a sense of belonging and community. (Source: Old Southwest, Inc.)