Meet Mary Beth Cross of Gratefull GVL…
On Monday, November 25th from 11:30am-1:30pm the Main Street bridge will be shut down and Greenville’s 1st annual city-wide potluck will begin. Our community will come together for an unforgettable meal that will feature 50 8-foot tables along Main Street with plenty of good food and good conversation. There are no requirements, no agenda and no cost to eat. Just show up and a part of this ultimate community gathering. That’s Gratefull GVL. To better understand this special event, we sat down with their Event Coordinator to discuss how this idea came to life, what to expect and lots more. Now let’s go meet Gratefull GVL’s Event Coordinator, Mary Beth Cross.
360: How did the idea of Gratefull GVL come to life?
Mary Beth: Gratefull was founded in Chattanooga, TN in 2014 by two women walking down Martin Luther King Blvd. On one side of the street, there were professionals enjoying lunches of deli sandwiches, etc., while directly across the street, men were sleeping on benches and looking for lunch in trash cans. Four weeks later, the women put a long table down MLK Blvd. and invited the public to come to a city-wide potluck. 700 people showed up! Since then, Chattanooga has hosted this event annually on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
Gratefull GVL comes to life…
Mary Beth: The mission is simple, to bring people from all socio-economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds together to share a meal and conversations. The organizers hope the event becomes an annual event in other cities and they offer “branding” kits on exactly how to host a Gratefull meal in other towns. I went to Chattanooga, met the founders and just fell in love with the vision.
360: Tell us about how Gratefull GVL will work.
Mary Beth: The City of Greenville will close down Main Street between Broad and Falls Park Streets on Monday, November 25th allowing us to put one long table over the Main Street bridge. The event will feature lunch being served between 11:30am-1:30pm, which is FREE and open to the public. Everyone is invited. Local restaurants will contribute food in addition to food brought to the event by the public. Mayor Knox White, Clemson Football standout Taj Boyd and elected city and state officials will speak and serve the crowd. The event will take place rain or shine.
How can people get involved with Gratefull GVL?
Mary Beth: The volunteer slots are all full, but the public is encouraged to attend the event and to bring a dish to share. There is no need to RSVP and all are welcome with or without contributing food.
360: What do you hope our community takes away from this first annual city-wide potluck?
Mary Beth: To me, a table is a great equalizer. At Gratefull GVL, we are offering handshakes, not handouts. My hope is that the city of Greenville will come together at one long table to feed our neighbors and our souls gaining appreciation for the diversity and inclusion we share in Greenville.
360: What are you bringing to Gratefull GVL?
Mary Beth: I will be bringing a large salad and possibly my husband’s favorite apple pie.
360: When you’re not helping organize a city-wide potluck — what do you love to do in Greenville?
Mary Beth: I love spending time with my local family and walking around exploring the many festivals and events downtown Greenville has to offer.
360: Thank you very much for your time and helping organize this great event for our city! We’ll see you at Gratefull!
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