As Grace Café serves more people, it needs more support

Published 6:02 pm Saturday, September 9, 2017

Dear Editor,

As we have watched in horror as the disaster of Hurricane Harvey has unleashed is fury on the people of Texas, we have also seen the way in which a community can come together to help those in need — people caring for neighbors and strangers, without regard to their ability to return the favor. It is inspirational.

In our own community, although not in the throes of disaster, we also have an opportunity to reach out to people in need, offering help without expectation, ascribing value to each life without regard to financial or social station. I speak of Grace Café, now well-established in our town as a place where people can find healthy, delicious meals served with dignity and without the social stigma often associated with “hand out” programs.

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If you have visited Grace Café, you have seen this mission in action. It has grown by leaps and bounds in the two years since it opened its doors to our community. Increasingly, it is serving people who are “food insecure.” The number of meals served daily has steadily increased as folks have discovered that it is delicious, healthy and affordable.

But here’s the rub: the more the café accomplishes its mission, the more financial support it needs from those of us who are able to pay full fare and “pay-it-forward,” too. There is an inverse proportion between the degree of which the mission of the café is served and the café’s financial sustainability. That is to say, the gap between the cost of the food served and the revenue from diners widens as more and more food-insecure people, unable to pay full fare, eat at the café. So, when you see the daily busy-ness of the café, if you’re tempted to think that things are going so well that it must be financially flush, do the math — see the gap.

We must all lend a hand to neighbors and strangers, regardless of their ability to return the favor. It doesn’t take a disaster like a hurricane to teach us that lesson. What a privilege we have here in this community to be able to help others within a context of dignity and respect, as we invite everyone to the table for healthy, delicious meals, and enable this mission to succeed, thrive and grow. A very grace-filled way to assist neighbors in need. Let’s all be generous and help to bridge the gap between the cost of the food that is served and the revenue from diners.

Joanie Lukins