In 2021, we recently moved to Petit Creek just outside Merritt, BC and experienced evacuation due to fire and floods. After these stressful events, a neighbour held a potluck for neighbours to gather and connect with each other, which everyone really enjoyed. We live on a rural country property in the mountains, and all of the properties are far apart, so it is challenging to connect with neighbours. We decided to start a community Facebook page and held our first community BBQ at our property on June 26th, thanks to the Neighbourhood Small Grant we received. We really didn’t experience any challenges in organizing our event. I had quite a few neighbours volunteer to help me organize and set up on the day of the event. We held a coffee meeting to plan our event. People wanted to contribute food, so we took care of the main supplies, BBQ food and drinks, and asked neighbours to contribute a salad or dessert to stretch our budget. We also had a neighbour who owns a septic company donate a portable toilet. We ended up with a lovely spread of food, and there were 40 of us in attendance. With the event, we were also able to promote our community Facebook group and had many more neighbours join our online group. We sent communication out for the BBQ by email, through Facebook and word of mouth.
All in all, we received a lot of positive feedback thanking us for bringing everyone together with both our BBQ and our Facebook group. We would love to make it an annual event if possible, as we think it’s very important after the fires and floods for us to maintain a positive connection in our community with our neighbours.
40 people in attendance was the perfect number with our budget and resources, so the only challenge I can foresee is if more people want to attend future events as we grow our community. But everything is manageable, and we can always ask for donations from Merritt organizations if we need to stretch our budget.

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