I had the lovely opportunity to attend a 1 Table event in Florence, Alabama. The festivities were held on November 2 in Mobile Plaza, a major hub of businesses and restaurants in downtown Florence. These owners make the choice to close down every year to accommodate the people who attend. Florence is a town of 40,000 residents, and there is no cap on attendance: whoever shows up gets fed. The entire event is paid for by community donations, and the delicious Thanksgiving meal is catered by Jill Larkin of Jill’s Sweet Memories, who gifts all the food for the entire event. Six local women: Brittany Ashley, Chelsea Wassner, Kristin Husainy, Bevin Thomaston, Scarlett Lyons, and Katrina McCreless wanted to replicate their One Table experience in Huntsville in 2016. So, in 2017 they launched the first 1 Table Florence with great success. Save for the obvious 2020 shutdowns, 1 Table Florence has been held every year, rain, shine, or snow (which happened one year).
The meal is one of those rare things in life—a free lunch. Save for local musicians who supply ambiance, the 1 Table event is fully representative of the power of a community coming together for the sole purpose of breaking bread and getting to know their neighbor.