No One Eats Alone Day is observed every third Friday of February and this year it will be marked on February 17. The day is an initiative by Beyond Differences, a non-profit company. The inaugural celebration began in 2012 by a handful of schools in Northern California to introduce togetherness and alleviate social and ethnic differences. By introducing No One Eats Alone Day, the idea is to encourage students to overcome any and all differences which exist in society. It encourages students to sit together at the lunch table and eat together while telling jokes and doing all the kiddy stuff school students do.
History of No One Eats Alone Day
‘Beyond Differences’ is a social welfare and non-profit organization that aims to inspire the youth to end social isolation. Created in the memory of Lili Rachel Smith, she suffered from a facial anomaly and was subjected to social isolation at school. Although she was not bullied or harassed, what she was subjected to was not worse than any effort to bully her — she was considered invisible.
She died in her sleep at the age of 15 in 2009. After her death, her family created a social worker organization with the sole mission to end social isolation and introduce an atmosphere of social inclusion by overcoming social differences in youth. With this mission, No One Eats Alone Day came in as a leading effort to encourage students in schools to sit together and eat together — not even a single student should be left alone to eat. In 2012, the inaugural observance of this day was organized in a few schools in Northern California, but despite low attendance, the initiative gained fame and appreciation. Within the next three years, half of the U.S. observed the day in their schools when students and faculty officially signed up for the day and celebrated it with the right motives and enthusiasm.
The year 2018 came in as the most successful year when one million students celebrated this day in over 2,300 schools all across the U.S. All 50 states participated in the day’s celebrations and made sure that indeed no one ate alone on No One Eats Alone Day. The efforts and initiative continue to inspire and work dedicatedly to ensure that social isolation ends in all forms, from everywhere.
No One Eats Alone Day timeline
She was only 15 years old when she died and she had endured isolation in school due to her facial anomaly.
The first No One Eats Alone Day is celebrated in memory of Lili Rachel Smith.
In 2015, almost the entire west coast and overall half of the entire U.S. joins the cause.
More than one million students in over 2,300 schools across all 50 states celebrate No One Eats Alone Day.
No One Eats Alone Day FAQs
Who started the group Beyond Differences?
Parents of the deceased girl Lili with a facial anomaly, Laura and Ace Smith, started the organization in 2010.
What happens to children who grow up isolated?
Apart from the physiological effects of the isolation, children who have stayed isolated from other children in schools have exhibited restricted brain structures and difficulty coping with external pressures.
What Does Beyond Differences Do?
It is a student-led social justice movement that empowers students to advocate for change.
How to Observe No One Eats Alone Day
Let no one eat alone
Isn’t this already given, do not let anyone eat alone. Grab a partner and eat with them, and ask a new person around to join you too.
Post on Social Media
The goal is to spread the message as far as possible. Post the message on social media and make it trend so that it gains mass attention.
Talk and sit with someone you don’t sit with
It is okay to sit with your friend and eat, but the goal is to include someone left alone. So, grab a seat with that person, and see where the flow takes you.
5 Important Facts About Social Isolation
22% of U.S. citizens feel lonely
More than a fifth of adults in the U.S. feel lonely and socially isolated.
Victims of social isolation die early
According to the CDC, people who suffer from social isolation are more prone to developing heart diseases which could ultimately result in death.
Every fifth millennial has no friend
In recent studies, it has been found that every fifth millennial has no friends at all.
School friendships last longer
Years of study have shown that the closest and long-lasting friendships usually started in school.
A syndrome that causes social isolation
The initiative was inspired inspiration behind the organization’s initiative of No One Eats Alone Day was a girl named Lili who suffered from a facial anomaly called Apert Syndrome.
Why No One Eats Alone Day is Important
Stand against social isolation
This comes in as a stand against social isolation in institutions that harbor social isolation one way or the other. Schools are the first stage of institutions where children learn the mechanisms of social structures. Teaching the value of overcoming social differences is very important
Society needs to develop social tolerance
Discriminating based on certain factors, and making friends based on some specific mutual interests, should not be the way of making friends. Instead, friendships should be developed based on moral values and intellect.
Make new friends
It is good to make new friends all the time. You never know who might end up being the most important friend to you.
No One Eats Alone Day dates