I

f you are looking to test the strength of your community, to get a feel for where things really stand among the members of whatever collective you may claim as your own, there’s no better way than to have a potluck. Then, when all of the contributions have been toted in and arrayed across whatever folding tables you found, ask yourself this:

Is there enough for everyone?

Peaches’ second grade class celebrated the end of the school with a build-your-own-burrito bar. Parents brought chicken and beef, lettuce and tomatoes, drinks and chips and dip. There was a Dr. Seuss cake and cupcakes, watermelon and broccoli. After lunch, the eight-year-olds spent time outside on the lawn building bridges out of mini marshmallows and dry spaghetti.

What I want to tell you about the lunch we shared is that there was abundance on those folding tables, a spilling-over of gratitude for the services rendered on behalf of the children made manifest in plastic containers and crockpots carried in from homes. I would argue that it is not until you are confronted with a buffet built across families—until you’re offered a choice of flour and gluten-free tortillas, I’m saying—that you have a sense for the spirit in which your membership finds itself. And even with parents, grandparents and the occasional sibling thrown in, and yours truly dishing out the meat and going a little heavy on it (like I always swear I won’t), there was enough for everyone.

There was more than enough.