For Maggie Kane, Executive Director of A Place at the Table, eating good food is about community. We all need to eat, so we should do it in a way that brings the community together. Maggie majored in International Relations and Italian from NC State and realized there was a greater need for safe, community based settings for everyone to eat. A Place at the Table is a new concept here in Raleigh. This unique style of dining will be in a “pay what you can” format. This format merges the concept of a soup kitchen and a restaurant. A Place at the Table wants to provide fresh, healthy, flavorful meals like a restaurant, while providing people with a welcoming and non-money centered place to eat, like a soup kitchen. This concept can help bring the community together and help us get to know our neighbors that we might not normally eat with. Service will also be community style, with large tables and conversation starters of the day so that you can get to know others even better.
The concept is easy: you pay what you can. There are a few options for your meal at A Place at the Table. First, you can simply pay what you are able to afford. Each meal will have a suggested donation price, so you can also pay that price, or the price that you would normally pay for a similar meal. You can also pay the suggested price, plus an extra donation. Another option is to pay the suggested price for your meal, as well as paying for someone else’s full meal. This is a great way to help out our community members who may not be able to afford the suggested donation price. The final option is to pay for your meal by volunteering with A Place at the Table.
This might seem like a far-fetched concept to some, but there are actually 60 different restaurants across the world who follow this same business plan. They are all part of the One World Everybody Eats network, which strives to provide a safe, community based place to eat. Maggie wants to make it clear that this concept is not a hand out, it’s a hand up. A Place at the Table is not just giving people food for free; they are allowing members of the community to help provide food for people who may not be able to pay as much. They are also allowing people who may not be able to pay the ability to volunteer their time instead.
Currently A Place at the Table is looking for community support and connections to find the perfect location for this restaurant. So what can you do to help? Raise awareness of A Place at the Table and the pay what you can concept. You can start by attending a pop-up breakfast at Relish Café August 27th from 9:00am-11:00am. This pop-up meal will follow the same pay what you can concept. A Place at the Table will also be holding future pop up meals to help raise awareness and start-up funds so that they can find a location and start putting their community plan into action.
You can also donate at their website.
Melissa Guido is a currently a dietetic intern in the Triangle area. She studied nutrition at NC State and Meredith College. Her favorite part about nutrition is showing people that healthy food can be exciting and delicious. Melissa loves travelling and learning about how food fits into different cultures. In her free time she loves trying new restaurants, cooking, and obsessing over her dogs. Follow her on Instagram @made2order and at www.madeorder.wordpress.com.