By Karen Morfitt

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Every seat inside Everyday Joes Coffee shop was taken Wednesday night, and every table was a display of what makes Colorado great.

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(credit: CBS)

“I think it’s really great to hold something like this where everyone can  have a safe space Everyone can maybe share how they are feeling or just like come together and love and just eat food,” said CSU senior Ashlee Stoddard 

It’s Stoddards first friendsgiving dinner, sharing a meal and conversation with members of her community. Some people she knows, others she’s never met.

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(credit: CBS)

“I never really fully dedicate myself… and this year I think I’ve gone through a lot of hardship,” Stoddard said in a discussion with her table mate. 

Colorado State University students and members of the Fort Collins interfaith council hosted the dinner with the purpose of bringing community members from all walks of life together.

Laura Nelson helped organize the first dinner four years ago.

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(credit: CBS)

“True dialogue requires both sides to be willing to change, so coming here with that open heart, open mind,” she said.

Since then Nelson says they have had to move into a bigger venue. 

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The dinner now serves more than 200 people from 13 religions and all different backgrounds, many coming back year after year.

“The whole idea is based around hospitality and being as welcoming and open as possible so we can have these powerful conversations,” Nelson said.

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(credit: CBS)

A day after a divisive midterm election, Stoddard says there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal to bring everyone together.

“Just like having something to like look forward to where you always know you’re going to be heard and welcomed,” she said. 

Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

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