Multicultural dinner provides bridge between old worlds and new

Posted: Nov. 11, 2019 Learn More

Quincy is a place of remarkable diversity, and a city that is changing daily. It’s also a place of high population density, where neighbors rub elbows like nowhere else on the South Shore.

Two-thirds of Quincy is white. Compare that with the towns down the coast that average about 95% white populations. The other third of Quincy is made up of a large Asian population – about 26% – as well as Blacks (5.7%), Hispanics (3.1%) and people who report themselves as “Two or More Races” (2.3%). The Asian population breaks down to Chinese (68.7%), Vietnamese (11.7%), Indian (10.6%), Filipino, Japanese, Korean and “Asian, Other.” Quincy, the “most Irish city in America,” is also the home of the fastest-growing population of people of Asian descent in Massachusetts. The languages, the faces, the cultures change from street to street around the city.

So, where do Moroccans fit into this picture?

Well, four Moroccan women recently came together at the South Shore YMCA’s Germantown Neighborhood Center, at first strangers, now friends, to celebrate their heritage and share it with all of their neighbors.

The night began with a Moroccan tea serving ceremony and native Moroccan music. The four women, all moms, gathered in the center’s teaching kitchen to prepare a meal while families from around Germantown representing seven different cultures shared conversation or watched over the children playing on the local playground.

“It was quite the scene,” said the Y’s Tracey Phelan, coordinator of the event. “At one point I glanced outside and saw Claire Brennan, our associate executive director, overseeing 17 kids on the playground with our childcare staff.”

The food, life’s great equalizer, was served family style as this new Germantown family came together. Many of the men, women and children gathered had never tasted the foods before, but were willing to try them out. The room filled with laughter and conversation. New friendships were made. Recipes were shared.

Throughout the evening, the moms – all of them – realized that across languages and geography they had many commonalities. They love and care about their families. They want their children to grow up eating healthy meals. And they want to come together again.

This evening proved to be the first multicultural dinner at the Germantown Neighborhood Center. Who will step up next? What will be on the menu? Plans began that night as moms, dads and grandparents of Germantown families discussed meals they would like to prepare and meals they would like to eat.

“Germantown is always changing,” said Claire Brennan. “There is always wonderful diversity in the neighborhood, and we’re glad we can open our center for events like this one. The Y believes in opening doors for all. I can’t wait for the next one.”

“The food was amazing,” said Phelan. “It acted a powerful reminder of how easy it is for us to come together and celebrate the things we share in life, no matter where we come from.”


About the South Shore YMCA

The South Shore YMCA is a not-for-profit association of individuals dedicated to improving the quality of life for all through programs that promote healthy spirit, mind, and body. Serving the communities of Quincy, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover and beyond, the South Shore Y provides the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive through its services and programs. Financial Assistance is a Y community benefit available to all families in need, applicable to all Y programs and services. To learn more about the South Shore YMCA, visit The South Shore YMCA. The Better You Belongs Here.