Start a Table
F***. You’re here.
As a community born of loss, we know this tribe comes with a huge price of entry. We’re really glad you’re here. And we’re sorry for what’s brought you here, too.
The Dinner Party is a space where people in their 20s and 30s who have experienced the loss of a parent, sibling, partner, child, other close family member, or close friend meet on an ongoing basis to #realtalk about loss and life after. Thinking about starting your own table and serving as a volunteer host? Watch the video below and read on.
How is hosting different from joining a Dinner Party Table?
There are four main parts to being a Dinner Party host: scheduling and organizing ongoing dinners (think more peer-led support group, less one-time event), finding or providing a space (most hosts host at their apartments or homes to ensure comfort and privacy but intimate coffee shops and bars work too!), lightly guiding and facilitating the conversation, and serving as the point person between your table and TDP HQ.
The pros: you don’t have to leave your house to travel to dinner, you get a say in the scheduling, you get to know The Dinner Party staff, you get access to our private Host Facebook Group where you can connect with other TDP hosts from across the world, you help to create the support that you and others need.
The cons: It’s more work, but you get to use your own shitty experience to give back to others and become a more deeply-embedded part of a community that can change your life.
If I host, do I have to cook all the food? Spend lots of money from my own pocket? Have a beautiful dining room table or apartment?
No, no, and no. For something called The Dinner Party, the dinner is the least important part. It’s the way we gather people together (everyone has to eat!), but not the point. All meals are potluck-style and some groups choose to opt for ice cream and wine over a full meal. Most tables meet in living rooms and on couches rather than around a dining room table and some of our best groups get cozy in studio apartments.
What do y’all look for in a Dinner Party host?
We look for men, women, and non-binary folks, gay or straight, of any race, religion, socioeconomic background, or occupation, who have the capacity to organize and schedule dinners on a regular basis, ask good questions, be authentic in who they are and how grief shows up in their lives, provide a consistent space, and welcome other members of their table so they feel comfortable in the club that no one wants to join in the first place.
Do I have to pay membership?
As a host who’s volunteering your time to support your table, we don’t require you to pay the $35/year fee to join The Dinner Party. However, if you’d like to sponsor another Dinner Partier, you’re welcome to donate $35 here.
HOST A TABLE: DINNER PARTY HOST APPLICATION
Thank you so much for applying to host with The Dinner Party! Please know that our staff (all of whom have experienced significant loss themselves) read every single host application with care, and appreciate and honor the vulnerability it takes to fill out a form.
Although we’re attending to applications as swiftly as possible, our commitment to thoughtfully preparing each host, including a personalized, one-on-one training phone call and extensive resources, can make this an inherently slow process. Due to a high volume of applications, our response can take from 1 week to 2 months.
Please note that depending on your location, we may not be able to offer you the opportunity to host a Dinner Party table at this time. We’re a demand-driven organization and one thing we’ve learned over the last few years is that trying to make a table work when there aren’t enough people invested in a location can leave our volunteer hosts feeling more isolated after loss rather than less (which kinda defeats the purpose of Dinner Party-ing, no?). If we can’t offer you the opportunity to host, we’ll keep you on our waitlist in case it makes sense to start a table where you are in the coming months.
Biggest thank you for your patience and understanding—and for applying to be a host with the Dinner Party!