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Loving the place where you live

Homegrown Moorestown outdoor dinner emphasizes community

Homegrown Moorestown will host its first outdoor community dinner – The Longest Table – at the Church Street Recreation Center parking lot from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 31.

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“When we put time and effort into these things, we hope that they will last,” said Celie Coleman, co-founder of Homegrown Moorestown. “We hope it’s something that’s going to happen year after year and grow and grow, so it’ll be exciting to be a part of the first-ever Longest Table of Moorestown.”

Event proceeds will be donated to Mission Voice, a nonprofit that helps individuals with special needs find their voices and places in the community. Its staff works closely with the township’s parks and recreation department to provide inclusive programming for more than 300 children and young adults, according to Homegrown Moorestown’s site.

The programs include summer camp, S.M.A.S.H. (Social Meeting After School Hours), Challenger Baseball, family game night, soccer and holiday parties.

“Being a part of the beginning of something is always exciting,” Coleman noted of The Longest Table. “I think that the town is starting to feel that in general, that there’s a lot of new things happening, and people are working really hard to bring the community together and grow Moorestown.

“We spend so much time here and blood, sweat and tears, so you should love the place that you live (in).”

Tables were donated – along with chairs – by Cooper Party Rentals and are reserved for up to six people. One person will serve as table captain and each group will provide its own food, drinks, tablecloth, plates, cutlery, napkins and drink ware. Guests are encouraged to bring their own flowers, decorations or props and should arrive by 5 p.m. for setup.

Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Public parking is available at the municipal lot on West Second Street, the Moorestown library lot and on nearby streets. Handicapped parking will be located off of Third Street at the Church Street Recreation Center.

“”I think everyone is coming from the same place, just looking forward to a nice night in the spring,” explained Gretchen Simmerson, co-founder of Homegrown Moorestown. “I feel like so many people know each other already, but it’ll just be a good way to talk to new people and catch up.”

The Longest Table is sold out for 2024 – due to limited space and facilities – but will be back in 2025.

“At dinner time, I just picture everyone enjoying the night (and) enjoying their neighbors,” Simmerson observed. “ … I think the tables will be everyone’s base, but I do think it’s going to be a lot of movement and socializing with everyone.”

“I’m definitely envisioning beautiful weather, comfortable temperatures and a lot of conversation and laughter,” Coleman said. “ … You’re not going to sit and stay with the five other people that you came with, you’re going to enjoy the food that you spent time planning and have a drink, but then you’re going to want to finish a conversation that you were in the middle of, or go say hi to someone that you haven’t seen in a couple of years.”

Dinner attendees must be over 21. For more information on The Longest Table or Homegrown Moorestown, visit www.homegrownmoorestown.wixsite.com/moorestown or its social media.


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