The Original Neighbor’s Table (credit: Sarah Harmeyer)
Week #66 – Two Weeks to Happyness: SPREAD THE LOVE!
(Happyness in Action with Sarah Harmeyer)
[Editor’s note: Our second-annual 50 for #50 Virtual Toy Drive is underway! You choose your gift and your location — or some other Random Act of Happyness. Just let us know what you donated and where…and maybe even post a photo! We’ve already logged the first ten gifts! Keep ’em coming!]
Greetings Happyness Tribe!
This week, I am so pleased to announce our fifth nomination for Happyness in Action: Sarah Harmeyer of Dallas, TX for her creation of Neighbor’s Table. Sarah took a simple concept and a sweet memory — and turned it into “A Love Mission” that has kept her (and her family) busy for over four years and just landed her table on HGTV’s “Nashville Flipped!” She is the “Chief People Gatherer” at Neighbor’s Table — a movement that encourages people to step outside their homes and get to know their neighbors, one table at a time!
And it all started in her own backyard!
Sarah shared her story with me: “The concept of Neighbor’s Table comes from my personal passion for gathering people and my desire to get to know my neighbors. I asked my Dad to build a table big enough to seat 20. In 2012, I set a goal to serve 500 people at that table, one dinner party after another. I did it that year, and have now gathered almost 2,000 people since.”
But why a table?
“I thought back to the very best moments in my life and it was always around the table. It was around the kitchen, planning parties, celebrating other people. In graduate school I even had a little cafe out of my house and it was the very best year of my life. So, I started paying attention to when I came alive. That’s when a friend helped me realize I was a people gatherer.”
So Sarah’s father built her a custom table. “I had my first party in March of 2012 and I extended invitations to my neighborhood. I invited them to step outside their home and meet neighbors, even if they’ve never done so. To my surprise, 91 neighbors came that night — and the rest was history.”
The first goal: 500.
How did she go from 91 to 500 that first year? “I told people my goal of 500 people that year and when people know about your goal they ask you about it. On Thanksgiving Day 2012, the 500th guest walked down my driveway. There was clapping, cheers, photos and video. We did it, it became OUR table, not just my table.” Since then, Sarah reports that almost 2000 people have celebrated at the original Neighbor’s Table.
But Sarah didn’t stop there. “A couple of years ago I asked my Dad if he’d be willing to build tables for other people. I got to thinking it would be really fun to cheer people on to love their neighbors and to start their own love mission in their community.” I asked Sarah about the first table they built after their own. “The first table we built, after the original, was delivered to a college student in Waco, TX as a surprise from her parents. We delivered it on October 19, 2013.”
“We have been building tables from our family barn and delivering them all over the country. We want to see ordinary people loving extraordinarily around the table.” There are Neighbor’s Tables currently in 10 states — with a goal of having tables in backyards in every state in the US by 2020! “The power of community that now regularly gathers at the original Neighbor’s Table has spurred a desire to launch a movement — a love mission, if you will.”
I asked Sarah what Happyness means to her: “Happiness is gathering friends and strangers alike around the table and figuring out ways the entire time on how to love them. Happiness is cheering others to love. Happiness is doing the thing that God has made you to do.”
What about you, Happyness Tribe? Are you ready to Spread the Love?
Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: GATHER TOGETHER! Last week, Aubrey challenged us to put down our devices and spend quality time with the ones we love. Sarah now encourages us to bring our NEIGHBORS into the mix! This might be especially meaningful during the holidays — when one or more of your neighbors are alone or distanced from family (or perhaps it’s you that feels alone this holiday season). Open your doors! Spread the Love!
“Make time for someone in your community. Look for ways to love those to the left and right of you.” (Sarah Harmeyer)
Spread Happyness — Spread the Love! Get to know your neighbors this week — and tell us about it in the comments!
12/18/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
(Thanks to Sarah Harmeyer for welcoming me to her virtual table! To learn more about Sarah and Neighbor’s Table, read inspiring stories, or find out how to get a custom handcrafted table for your own backyard — follow Neighbor’s Table on Instagram and Facebook, or sign up for emails or purchase at http://neighborstable.com.)
50 for #50 Virtual Toy Drive Update (AS OF 12/18/15):
1. A football, Hot Wheels set, Loom activity set, 500-piece puzzle, toy construction vehicle, mini construction vehicle set, and a tea party set were donated to Toys for Tots.
2. Lego Friends toy donated at Turtleback Zoo Toy Drive.
3. Donation was made to Teterboro Animal Shelter
4. Donation was made to Endometriosis Foundation of America
Keep ’em coming!!!