How It Works
We’re here to help make the perfect match for your family. We’re run by volunteers who want to make connections and conversations easier.
We’re trying to make this service as simple and easy as possible for you.
The next phase of matching will be for dinners occurring in the first two months of 2013.
Four Steps to a dinner to remember
1. Express Interest. Like the idea? Sign up to join the community of potential hosts.
2. Confirm details. Take the time to chat with your own family and confirm your availability. Then answer a few matching questions to ensure that you get linked with the right newcomer family.
For this phase, this step will close on January 5th.
3. Get Matched. ComeToDinner will find the right match for you and send a short profile of your matched family and their contact info.
4. Arrange Dinner. Contact the newcomer family directly to set up the details of the dinner when it works for both families.
All that’s left is for you to share a dinner to remember together!
Other Questions Answered!
“This sounds like a great idea!” you might be thinking to yourself.
But you still might have a few questions – “I mean, what’s it really like having a family you don’t know over for dinner?”.
We can’t promise it will be perfect, but so far,we can say it’s been great for both the host and newcomer families .
100 families were matched in Toronto over Thanksgiving and November. All but two said they’d host again, many have chosen stay in touch with their newcomer family (invitations for Halloween, invitations to attend a dinner at the newcomer’s home, sharing language lessons), and many are encouraging their friends to sign up as hosts.
If there’s a part of you that really wants to try it but you still have some questions, let us know and we’ll put you in contact with a past host to answer any concerns you might have.
We’ve discovered that the key to a great evening is a good match, particularly ensuring that kids are similar ages. And we have a big enough pool that we can ensure a good match.
If you are a single parent with a young child, we’ll match you with a single parent with a young child; if you’re a young couple, or a group of friends in your 30s, we’ll match you with a similar group of newcomers; if you’re retired, we’ll match you with an older family.
Who will make the meal?
It’s up to you. We would expect the host family to provide the meal, but if the guest family is interested in contributing food from their home country, well, you’ll get to try a delicious new dish! When you’re matched with them you can discuss this directly.
Is there a Cost?
No, no cost. A few volunteers have put together this service (simply) as a way to help better conversations to happen/Canadians celebrate together The only cost is the extra food that you buy!
What sort of food should I make?
You’ll get a chance to specify your own food preferences (e.g. vegetarian), as will guest families. We will try to match you with a family whose food preferences are close to yours. You can make whatever you would having any other guests over for dinner!
I have kids. How will that affect the dinner?
Kids are the best at breaking the ice, and this is designed to be a kid-friendly service! If you are willing to provide your and/or your children’s age range, we’ll match you with a family as close in age as possible.
And you’ll get a short profile of your guest family, including where they are from, so your kids would have a chance to go online and learn about that country before the dinner.
Will the guest family have English skills?
All the New Canadian families will have conversational English.
Should we pick them up?
That will be up to you. Some families will have their own car, others are used to public transportation. We’ll try to match people geographically and transportation-wise.
How can I protect my Privacy?
Your info will never be offered to any other group. After the match is made, you’ll have an opportunity to stay signed up or to unsubscribe to any announcements of new programs.
Will I be required to keep in touch after the dinner?
No, the expectations are set that this is simply sharing a dinner, though of course if you hit it off you are welcome to!
What if I don’t know much about the country/region where the New Canadian family is from?
This isn’t a problem at all. You’re opening your hearts and doors with generosity and a desire to learn! Most people find they have much more in common than they realise. You can share stories of what life is like growing up in Canada, and learn about what life is like growing up in another country.
I’m worried about things being awkward, or even causing offense. Can you help put me at ease?
New Canadians are very tolerant about the customs in their new country. Our best advice is – ask! We’ll also be sending each guest family some guidelines, and we’ll be sending each of you some conversation suggestions and tips from previous dinner hosts.
We’re prototyping this in Toronto and will share the service in other cities over the coming year. You can still express your interest in hosting in your city and we’ll contact you when it becomes available.
And if you are interested in being an organizer in another city, we’re looking for helping expanding this great program!