Karen Snow, of Mays Landing, believes even complete strangers can bond over a shared meal. So she started Dinner & A Deed, to bring people together at restaurants, and motivate them to help someone else.

“It’s not a business, not a nonprofit, it’s just an idea,” she said. She won’t be raising or distributing money.

Snow, 46, will have dinner with anyone.  When about a dozen people sign up through her web site, she arranges it. Each person, including Snow, pays for her own food.

Snow worked as a writer and in the restaurant field before her 18-year-old son, Zach, was born, she said. But she does not have a job now, so can focus on this project and her own philanthropic work with groups like the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and Atlantic County Humane Society.

Before the dinner, participants fill out a questionnaire about their interests, and how much time and money they are willing to spend. At dinner, Snow gives them personally tailored assignments, wrapped up in ribbon in fancy envelopes, she said.

Diners later report online about how they did the deed.

In the first month, Snow has had meals at different restaurants with three groups of 12 people. Half have been men, and the age range is 30 to 50, she said. Son Zach plans to start hosting younger diners.

Participants have taken on a variety of deeds, including using social media to advertise a shelter animal until it is adopted, and sending care packages to military platoons, she said. Visit dinnerdeed.com.

Winning cover

Luke Henry, a seventh grader at St. Mary School in Vineland, has won the American Recorder Magazine second Cover Art Contest.  His winning artwork is featured on the cover of the September 2012 magazine.

About 120 entries were received from schools in seven states, and three of six finalists came from St. Mary School, a spokesperson said. The other two finalists are Rucha Shah and Tumelo Nwanma. The contest was part of a music appreciation assignment by music teacher Kit Stout. Visit americanrecorder.org/events/artcontest.html.

Firefighter memorial

The 31st Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service will honor Lieutenant Andrew K. Boyt, 45, of the City of  Cape May Fire Department, who died suddenly last October after completing a 24-hour shift with fire calls.

He is among 85 firefighters whose  names will be added to the memorial at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland Oct. 7. Visit Weekend.Firehero.org.

More stories to tell

Michelle Brunetti Post writes about the lives, careers and good deeds of South Jersey residents Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays in ‘Everyone Has a Story.’ To share your story, call 609-272-7219 or email MPost@pressofac.com