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Gather at the Table: Community Hosts Public Dinner

January 9, 2020

Gather at the Table Website | Volunteer Sign Up
The Essex and Westford school districts unified on July 1, 2017, joining our communities as one. But besides that, how has the bond between the towns strengthened? What more can we do? A certain committee has the answer.


A group of volunteers is hosting ‘Gather at the Table,’ a community dinner meant to connect the non-school and school communities. Hosted at Essex High School this Saturday (doors open at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is from 5:30-7 p.m.), the event will feature an accommodating menu with vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options, as well as activities for kids and live music. The event has been supported by the dedicated committee, as well as several volunteers and sponsors.


EWSD Child Nutrition Manager Scott Fay spoke about why he thought a community event like ‘Gather at the Table’ is important. “Building and strengthening these relationships will serve our community in countless ways,” he said. “I also think it’s important to engage the community and bring people together without an agenda to simply be together.”


Another member of the committee, state representative Lori Houghton, spoke about our community and why ‘Gather at the Table’ is important to her. “Any time people come together, we build resiliency and understanding, and we build a network of people who care for each other,” she explained. “Our busy lives and the cold weather makes this difficult.”


“An important part of this engagement is fostering a partnership between the EWSD, volunteers, local government, rec programs, and local businesses,” Fay mentioned. “These engagements tend to build trust, acceptance, and hopefully, overall satisfaction between the school district, community leaders, and families.”


“I want to be clear, this dinner is not about the merger,” Houghton added. “Our planning committee is not affiliated with any municipality or organization. We are a grassroots group who simply want to provide an opportunity for our neighbors to come together, maybe talk with someone they’ve never met before, learn something new, and have a really fun family night out.”

Gather at the Table - Information

This event is open to everyone free of charge

When: Saturday, January 11. The doors open at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is from 5:30-7 p.m. Activities will take place throughout dinner. 
Where: Essex High School. 
Contact: For more information, email or visit  

  • Roasted Barbeque Chicken (Gluten/Dairy Free)
  • Rice Pilaf (Gluten-Free/Vegan/Dairy Free)
  • Creamy Macaroni & Cheese (Vegetarian)
  • Steamed Broccoli (Gluten-Free/Vegan/Dairy Free)
  • Tossed Caesar Salad (Gluten Free-croutons on the side)
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Brownie Sund

-Written by Essex High School junior Mikaela Perrin


Gather at the Table flyer