Re: Subject: Common meals - mandatory participation?
From: Pat Elliott (
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 2014 11:58:55 -0700 (PDT)
In response to Mariana's questions, apparently for these folks earlier life 
experiences, developed preferences, etc. cause their issues around being on a 
cook team and eating with the community. I would never force anyone to eat with 
the group against their will, although I believe they miss out on a lot (as has 
been mentioned by others) by seldom, if ever, doing so. I am less inclined to 
give them a full pass on cook team participation, which they have been 
complying with so far, to one degree or another. We can accept varying levels 
of participation, from only helping with clean-up or whatever. Our 92-year old 
member who is a great cook, always needs extra help with clean-up and always 
gets it. I am just resistant to going to a completely voluntary common meal 

Thank you, Randa from New Brighton, for support for mandatory participation on 
at least cook teams. From the initial responses to my email, I was feeling like 
I was being made out to be a tyrant for even wanting or suggesting such a 

Someone suggested we had a failing social program and were trying to save it by 
making participation mandatory. Our program is hardly failing! We have 3 to 4 
meals a week (so 42 in six months would feel like close to failure for us) and 
have since move-in. We have about 37 adults, though a lot travel or have 
additional homes elsewhere so aren't here a lot. Attendance ranges from 8 or 10 
to 24 to 30, less in the summer with more folks traveling. So, we are hardly 
failing. And it's always been mandatory as to cook team participation. As 
someone else mentioned, communities who actually have failing or failed 
programs all seem to have had voluntary common meals programs.


pat6 [at]

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