Fill Your Tummy, Fill Your Heart

This Saturday when I got out of my negotiation course I met up with my fellow International Relations students, Gretchen and Phuong. We drove to a small venue to volunteer with My Lucky Tummy, a pop of food-court with food prepared by local community members who came to Syracuse as refugees. My Lucky Tummy is a popup food court that hires five amateur chefs to each cook a beloved dish from ‘home’. The public is then invited on a “walking tasting of the world”.

It was a great opportunity for local chefs to get their food out there and for folks to come and try  authentic dishes from around the world. That night alone I had curries from Laos and India, Salad from Iraq, a fried delicacy from Burma, and dessert from Pakistan. It was an incredible, delicious, and one-of-a-kind event.

I did more than just eat while volunteering- don’t worry! The kitchen was a joyful, high-pace, chaos that made me feel more at home than any other experience I’ve had at Syracuse. I chopped pistachios, poured tea, and cleaned dishes. I got to get to know the chefs and other volunteers while we worked together. My Lucky Tummy’s Website says, “Food takes tradition & love”. There was a lot of love in that kitchen. We didn’t know each other, but we were laughing and having a wonderful time. Food brings people together, bridges borders, and builds beloved community.

I was tired from the week’s classes when I arrived at the event, but I am so grateful I got the opportunity to attend. I really felt belonged by my local community, and I was revived and energized when I left. I believe that engaging with the local community while at Maxwell is important to “making deep connections between the conceptual and the pragmatic, while promoting dedication to citizenship, community, and the rigors of public discourse”.

I want to thank Eric Horvath, President of SUPRA, from organizing this event. It is great to work alongside peers who are committed to citizenship and community beyond the classroom.


A little bird told me that My Lucky Tummy one day plans to be a restaurant. I hope to see that happen while I am still here at Maxwell!


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*Photos by Laurence Ford Photography