by Jake Gehret, St. Louis. MO
My wife and I love our neighborhood. We live in St. Louis, a patchwork city made up of dozens of small neighborhoods, each with its own unique identity. Ours is centered around a park, which in the spring, summer, and autumn months becomes the gathering place for parents with small children who need to have the energy run out of them. Day after day, week after week, our family met others at the playground as our kids played together. Thirty minutes later we would go our separate ways.
After some time, it became apparent to my wife and I that we needed to find more frequent and meaningful ways to connect with these neighbors. Our budget does not allow us to host dinner parties every night, not to mention the fact that scheduling social activities around bedtimes and life responsibilities is nearly impossible. What could we do?
My wife had the brilliant idea: Donut Saturday. Once a month we would buy a couple dozen donuts, brew a pot of coffee and invite everyone to stop by our house whenever they could on a Saturday morning. Cheap, stress-free setup and cleanup, and easy on the schedule.
On our first Donut Saturday, the house was filled to the brim – kids running in circles around the living room, moms planning play dates, and men connecting over old movies and beer preferences. Neighbors met for the first time and began to forge lasting relationships based not just on geography, but on commonality.
Donut Saturday soon expanded to birthday celebrations and babysitting and drop-in visits. Slowly but surely, our neighborhood is transforming into something of an extended family – all it took was a box of donuts and an open invitation.