Tuesday, 01 May 2007 20:14
Written by Keith Strohm
I'm not sure why I'm in a French mood tonight, but I did see a fascinating article at Dom Bettinelli's about a Cafe in Denver (thanks Sherry!) that seems like a wonderful application of the lay apostolate in action. So All May Eat Cafe serves both the the homeless and the homed, offering healthy, balanced meals--without charging a fixed price. The owners ask only that a patron pay what they can:
After years of volunteering in soup kitchens, Libby and Brad wanted to create a place that would nourish the hungry without setting them apart. No assembly-line service, no meals mass-produced from whatever happened to be donated that week. Just fresh, sophisticated food, made from scratch, served up in a real restaurant -- but a restaurant without a cash register.
Pay what you think is fair, the Birkys tell their customers. Pay what you can afford.
Those who have a bit more are encouraged to drop a little extra in the donations box up front. Those who can't pay are asked to work in the kitchen, dicing onions, scrubbing pots, giving back any way they can.
The Birkys could probably feed more hungry people, with far less effort, by donating the cash they spend on groceries to a homeless shelter.
That's not the point.
"It's not just the food," Libby says. "Often, homeless people, people in need, don't receive the same attention and care. Here, someone recognizes them, looks them in the eye, talks to them like they're just as valuable as the next person in line. That's why we do this."
This is a beautiful example of a Christian approach to service. You can read more about it here.