As we head into fall, we enter into a season of eating, drinking, partying, and feasting. And, for most of us westerners, we can admit that thankfulness and giving have become nothing more than gluttony and consumerism. This provokes a tension within me, knowing our issue features beautiful craft food and drinks to enjoy but also realizing that those craft beverages—from coffee to cocktails—are priced only for the gentrifiers, of which we are all some part. Thus, my dilemma: the balancing of celebrating people’s craft of creating flavors that recognize and appreciate the beauty of creation comes into conflict with the knowledge that others are not as fortunate to dine or drink in these places. I enjoy eating out; I love restaurants. The entire experience is one of my favorite pastimes. I sooth my guilt by knowing I give through my church to help bring aid to the hungry and thirsty locally and globally. But still I wonder, what more should I be doing to care for my community?
So, in this year’s DINE, we bring in a few voices of our neighbors who have been through some times where they weren’t just cutting back on eating out but found it hard even to gather enough for the next meal. In a rich, abundant region like the Bay Area, it is shocking to realize how near that place is to us, either for the people next door or for our own families. So, please, enjoy this season: eat, drink, and celebrate, but also let’s be more than “mindful.” Let’s be “actionable” to the needs of those around us. Because thankfulness and gratitude, like all of the great things in this world—love, mercy, justice, charity, and kindness—are not nor were ever meant to be reserved for a particular income bracket; they are the menu of the true table in which everyone is welcome to DINE.