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Reading Terminal Market

Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers: Food as a Bridge to Cultural Understainding

In late 2016, Reading Terminal Market launched a grant-funded program structured as a series of dinners where diverse – often adverse – communities would come together for a shared meal and conversation to foster greater cultural understanding. Bellevue was tasked with garnering media attention for each of the scheduled dinners.

In January 2017, Bellevue helped RTM leaders package and pitch a dinner between a group of newly-arrived Syrian refugees living in the city’s blue-collar Mayfair section and the largely white working class residents who have lived in the neighborhood for generations.
For pitching the dinner to the press, Bellevue emphasized the concurrent national news headlines involving attempts to ban Syrian refugees from entering the United States, and we told editors that the event was “Syrians meet Trump voters at Reading Terminal Market.” Not surprisingly, given the chance to showcase a local news “hook” for a national story, the dinner was attended by a packed crowd of TV, radio, and print reporters, including a local NPR affiliate who tweeted about the event throughout the evening and also hosted a Facebook live-stream on the national NPR account.

For this single event, Bellevue’s work generated six unique print/online stories, and nine unique television/radio stories resulting in more than 630,000 unique impressions with a value of more than $16,000. The NPR Facebook live-stream garnered more than 400,000 views, 12,000 likes, 1,000 comments, and 1,300 shares.

For the additional 5 dinners in the series, Bellevue took a more measured approach in targeting both neighborhood papers and other outlets that represent the various communities who participated in each dinner. Stories on the dinners appeared in such diverse publications as The Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia Tribune, Newsworks/WHYY, Associated Press, Saveur, and others.

Read a Sample of News Clips Below:

At Reading Terminal Market, Cultures Come Together More Than Anywhere Else in the City

Syrian Refugees Meet Their Lower Northeast Neighbors at Reading Terminal Market

Culinary cultural exchange dinner brings together Mexican, Chinese… and Mummer foods

Iraqis and Russian Jews Schmooze with Fried Foods

Breaking Bread and Removing Barriers

NPR Live: Philadelphia’s Syrian Refugees Meet Their Neighbors