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Oct 2, 2015 4:03 PM ET

Archived: A Place at the Table: Providing community and healthy food for all regardless of means

iCrowdNewswire - Oct 2, 2015

A Place at the Table

Think of a restaurant you enjoy. It could be your favorite place to grab dinner or a local breakfast staple. Besides a great meal, restaurants have a special ability to foster relationships as places to get to know people, catch up on friendships, or be around other people in the community. Imagine what it would be like to not be able to afford that experience. 

Now think of a delicious, healthy meal you recently ate. It probably contained fresh and local vegetables and protein and other healthy ingredients. Perhaps it was even chef prepared? Unfortunately nutritious meals like these can cost $15 or more. Imagine not being able to afford a healthy meal.

We believe that all people should have access to healthy and affordable food and should experience dignity in a restaurant where they can enjoy a meal with others. 

Hence, A Place at the Table: a nonprofit pay-what-you-can cafe that provides community and healthy food for all regardless of means. 

We know that if we provide healthy food as our tool for hospitality then walls, barriers, and divisions among groups of people can be broken down and change can happen. We believe that when we come together around a table with a meal, we will experience the power of community. 

We plan to open in July/August of 2016. 

A Place at the Table intends to serve anyone who wants a healthy chef-prepared meal, including people who want a reasonably-priced meal, people who are unable to pay, especially students and staff at NC State University and others living or working near us, or anyone searching for community.  

The Perfect Location

We have an opportunity to open in Hillsborough Lofts, a student apartment building under construction on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, NC.  This is an 
ideal location because it is adjacent to the NC State University campus
 and is surrounded by neighborhoods with a mix of affluent and some
 lower-income housing.  

But We Need Your Help or We May Miss this Leasing Opportunity

We need $100,000 by January in order to sign the lease for this location.  Please help us make our dream possible!

Where is my donation going?

$20,000     Construction of the cafe space inside Hillsborough Lofts

$40,000     Kitchen design & equipment. We will use as much donated and used equipment as possible, but we still need start-up capital to pay for these things

$40,000    Working Capital. We need working capital to pay for utilities, building costs, fees, salaries for our chef and cafe manager (all other staff will be unpaid volunteers), and other various costs. To be successful, a restaurant should have at least 6 months working capital at all times. 


The Impact

•  All people feel welcome, included, and accepted around the table

•  All people have access to a healthy, locally sourced, and delicious meal

•  All people are given a hand-up versus a hand-out and by volunteering become a part of the community.

How does a community cafe work?

A Place at the Table is a place where people can pay the suggested donation, pay for someone else’s meal, or pay by volunteering at the restaurant. 

A Place at the Table will be operated based upon the following guidelines:

•  Pay-what-you-can pricing – Each customer sets his/her own price for their meal. The café has a suggested donation range based on plate size.

•  Patrons choose own portion size –The café offers medium and large plates and     serves food cafeteria style.  Patrons can specify what they want and how much of each available item. This helps eliminate food waste, curbs overeating, and supports our patrons adhering to personal budgets.

•  Healthy, seasonal foods – We are committed to providing local, organic and seasonal food when possible, sustainably grown, raised or caught.

•  Patrons may volunteer in exchange for a meal – This provides a “hand up, not a hand out” opportunity, and a properly trained volunteer may be able to find future employment in the food service industry.

•  Volunteers are used to the greatest extent possible – Volunteers are the key to building a sustainable community. Volunteers may work for meals or to support efforts to curb hunger in our community.

•  Paid staff earns a living wage

•  Community Table – Our dining area will be a welcome environment for all who visit.  Large tables will provide the opportunity for people to socialize without the social and economic boundaries found in so many dining places today.  Cafe staff and volunteers will help those who want to participate by introducing diners and suggesting topics of conversation.  

Why We Will Be Successful 

We are following a proven model developed by the One World Everybody Eats Foundation, which has fostered over 50 cafes across the nation. Of these,  22 cafes have been operating for over 3 years, 6 have opened in the last 1-2 years, and 12 more will open in the next 1-2 years. We also have strong verbal support from our community. 

Meet Our Team

Who are we? 

Check out our website to meet the Board of Directors.

Other Ways to Help

•  Volunteer with us after we open.  We will need volunteers daily.

•  Offer in-kind donations. We are a start-up restaurant, so before opening, we are seeking donations of restaurant equipment, kitchen supplies.  Once we are open, we need food donations.

Sign up for our newsletter at www.aplaceatthetableraleigh.org.


Contact Information:

Maggie Kane
hollie woodruff
Meredith Johnson
Summerlee Walter

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