Gathering people around a table to share a meal is a sure way to spark conversation – and Richland County is doing just that with a new event called 100 Plates that is designed to get residents connected and sharing ideas.
This concept is a major Engage Richland event designed to bring together residents from diverse backgrounds and communities to collaborate, converse, and, ultimately, partner to advocate for positive change in the County’s neighborhoods.
“100 Plates is intended to get residents actively dreaming toward an optimal Richland County,” said Ashley Powell, Planning Services Division Manager. “If we come together for a meal, share ideas and find that there are others like ourselves willing to work toward accomplishing the things we want to see in our communities, we are then empowered to stop waiting for change and become it. That is the power of grassroots planning efforts like this one.”
The 100 Plates is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 at the Columbia Place Mall. The event is free, but registration – capped at 100 – is required to have a seat at the table.
Getting strangers to dine together is not new a concept. In Richland County, however, the idea is not only about the food or breaking down barriers between people. Richland County’s 100 Plates focuses on encouraging people to work together to help the County plan a better future for all residents.
Richland County’s Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) is organizing 100 Plates as part of its celebration of October’s National Community Planning Month. The monthlong observation will culminate with Spirit Week, which features, among other things, an opportunity for residents to work on a Habitat for Humanity Neighborhood Revitalization project.
After 100 Plates, the NIP will compile comments and ideas to develop a comprehensive community report with action items that can be achieved through elected bodies or at the grassroots level.
The 100 Plates community conversation is one of many events organized through Engage Richland, a year-round program designed to connect residents to local government. Through Engage Richland, residents can tour County facilities and give input on services, such as trash collection. Engage Richland-NIP builds on the concept of connection by involving residents in activities to improve their own neighborhoods and others, too.
“Engage Richland – Neighborhood Improvement provides neighborhood leaders with the resources they need to continue effecting change in their communities.” Powell said. “This element of the larger Engage Richland program focuses on equipping those who work in the County’s neighborhoods with the knowledge of what programs and personnel are available to aid them at the local government level and how best to partner with them.”
For more information and to register for the NIP events, visit richlandcountysc.gov and click on the “Connections Make Community” icon or call 803-576-1379.