How to Build Community: The Story of Monday Night Potluck

I am a proud member of The Monday Night Potluck, a weekly get together in my apartment building where 10-20 of us share dishes, wine, and conversation. It’s an amazing group of people from different countries, cultures and perspectives and has made start looking forward to Mondays.

It all started in June 2016 when my friend, neighbor and Fairy Dog Mother, Tish, and I decided to use the grills in our communal courtyard. True to form we cooked way too much food and didn’t want to waste it, so we started texting our other neighbors. Two joined us that night. “We can have this much fun on a Monday night?” we asked ourselves. “Why not?!”

The next week our group of four met again in a more organized fashion, but still way too much food, so we continued the pattern of inviting others – this time hollering at people as they walked into the building.

“We should do this every week!” we all agreed. And that’s what we did.

We started it as “Monday Night Grill Out” with the following rules:

-          All are welcome.

-          If you’re coming bring a dish or a bottle of wine to share.

-          Friends are allowed.

-          You must answer the question of the night.

Soon our twosome ballooned to 12 people in a month! We had actors from Arena Stage, a Congressmen, lawyers, entrepreneurs, IT professionals, government workers, and more all at one table enjoying each other. We formed a community with a mutual understanding to enjoy our time with one another.

At our peak, we had 28 people at the table!

In the winter months, we moved our party inside which led to the name change: Monday Night Potluck. We now have a Facebook group where we share news and updates and have continued the tradition for well over a year.

This has become my family in a city that could easily feel overwhelming. Not only do I look forward to Mondays, but I love catching up with my neighbors in the hallways, sidewalks and stores around our neighborhood. I feel like I belong and that my community has my back.



It starts with one person inviting another. The key is consistency and openness. Not everyone will be free every week or month, but you must continue. Your tribe will come. Just keep trying!