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The Longest Table


I am a creature of habit. I seek out those things in which I have found comfort. In our living room, I sit in the same chair, virtually every day, when we watch television. If we go to one of our favorite restaurants, it is not abnormal for me to order the same thing time after time. Ashamedly, when I walk into a room crowded with people, I will flock to those I know and with whom I have a comfortable relationship. For me to do something different would require me to be very intentional. Yet, I am ALWAYS surprised at how being intentional about meeting new people makes me more whole.

On May 22, the United Way of Iredell County will host “The Longest Table” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Statesville High School. United Way’s Executive Director Brett Eckerman noted, “We are looking for the opportunity to bring our community and its citizens together. Great conversations are often realized around the dinner table. We expect to place our participants around tables with people they might not know in order to better understand and appreciate each other.”

The event’s Facebook page notes, “Neighbors of all income levels, ethnicity types, and beliefs will have a common table to foster new friendships in Iredell County. Building the basic introduction to new individuals can add to everyone’s confidence and ability to reach out to one another and bridge gaps in future community planning decisions.”

There is no cost to attend and have dinner. Upon arrival, you will be given a table number and directions on where to sit. Be prepared to be separated from your friends and family and meet new people. “Our hope is to build a network of new friends and to have intentional conversations that we might not have otherwise. Through this, we will make this community stronger on a grassroots level,” Brett noted.

Wait! There will be great food, wonderful conversation, and the event is FREE? Thanks to the generosity of Cheney Brothers, one of Statesville’s most recent business partners, there will be no cost to attend. Cheney Brothers is a food distributor that serves customers throughout the Southeast and is currently expanding its existing facility to almost 300,000 square feet. They will employ more than 200 people. President Rick Stapleton said, “Cheney Brothers is delighted to help sponsor The Longest Table. We believe that investing in our community is an important part of being a good neighbor! This event allows us an opportunity to do just that, while supporting something that also aligns with our values as a company. We want to do everything we can to help make Statesville the best place possible to call home. We are also very pleased to be working with Grill 4 God Ministries in preparing an extraordinary meal for people from every area of our community.”

Longest Table meals have been around for a few years. THIS event, however, can be one of a different magnitude with as many as 500 people dining together! The value of having that many people committed to breaking bread and knocking down the barriers that separate us is limitless. To register for the event, please go to:

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© 2009 Last update April 15, 2018