To add a personal touch to our Darling Dinner recaps, we asked most recent dinner attendee Amy Dempsey to share what her experience was like at last month’s dinner collaboration with The Giving Keys.

Last week I had the honor of attending my second Darling Dinner, which took place at the Darling headquarters near downtown LA. To be completely honest, writing a recap of such an event is quite challenging for me. The task of gathering and presenting the proper words and descriptions to fully do this experience justice seems near impossible. Alas, I’ll do my best!

What one comes away with from a Darling Dinner is a sense of awe at the beauty she has just witnessed – a beauty that is experienced physically, intellectually, emotionally, and even spiritually. Darling Dinners are not just about eating, chatting with a group of smartly dressed women, and taking cute group pics (what my friends and I call “us-ies”) to link with clever hashtags; they’re about interacting with one another on a deeper level, prompted by meaningful discussion, inspiring company, and that place deep within ourselves that simply wants to share, listen and connect. The actual food, provided for this occasion by passionate chef Christian Navarro of Hella Fraiche, is just the icing on the cake.

This latest Darling Dinner was co-hosted by The Giving Keys, a company that employs those who are looking to transition out of homelessness. The Giving Keys takes old, flawed, discarded keys and engraves an inspirational word on them (love, breathe, believe, dream, fearless, create…). They then make these keys into unique pieces of jewelry that you wear until you come across someone who needs the inspiration more than you. It is then that you “pay it forward” and renew your key’s purpose and power. The Giving Keys founder, Caitlin Crosby, announced her intention to the Darling diners that the keys, like everything else in life, not be hoarded. They are, after all, simply things – possessions that we can’t take with us at the end of this life. She then prompted us to discuss what we needed to “let go” of in general. What were we holding onto that needed to be released? Something physical? Something emotional? That was up for us to decide. The ensuing discussions sparked fits of laughter, tears of both pain and joy, and a mutual understanding that each of us is more than the sum of our parts.

The ensuing discussions sparked fits of laughter, tears of both pain and joy, and a mutual understanding that each of us is more than the sum of our parts.

As we sipped on wine from One Hope Wines and indulged our taste buds with a delectable meal inspired by the desert theme of the Darling summer issue, we also discussed what it means to be “not just here, but here for a purpose.” The moment gave us permission to state our intentions, both big and small, and encourage one another as we shared our goals, values, and how we gather meaning in our day-to-day lives. With an attitude of honesty and vulnerability, each guest not only gave of herself and her personal truth, but also gained insight into and an appreciation for her fellow diners. This created an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion that left us eager to give hugs, exchange numbers, and take a few “us-ies” as the night drew to a close. As I drove away with a full belly and full heart, I concluded that Darling Dinners are, indeed, food for the soul.

Want to join in on a Darling Dinner? Check out our upcoming events, here.
Images via Morgan Johnson

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