Second ‘Pay What You Can’ Event Aids Less Fortunate

TULSA’S TABLE: From left, Christy Moore, founder and CEO of Tulsa’s Table, Chef Cat Cox, and Linda Ford, with Living Kitchen Farm and Dairy, pose at the second “pay what you can” community café through Tulsa’s Table, a project of nonprofit StoneSoup Community Venture.

On July 17, Tulsa’s Table, a project of StoneSoup Community Venture, hosted its second “pay what you can” community café. The event took place at the Thornton Family located at 5002 South Hudson.

The 2010 U.S. Census indicated that in the zip code of 74135, where the Thornton Family is located, 15.7 percent of residents live below the poverty line. Numerous low-income apartment complexes in the vicinity contribute to this statistic. In Tulsa County, an estimated 172,580 people live in poverty areas, nearly double the number from 2000.

As an educational component designed to teach self-sufficiency in growing and cooking healthy foods, Tulsa’s Table provided field green seeds to cafe patrons and show them how to plant the seeds in a reusable container they can find at home.

The is a natural partner for Tulsa’s Table pop-up cafe, as the two organizations share a passion for strengthening the foundation of the Tulsa community and ensuring healthy spirits, bodies and minds for all citizens.

The organization’s ultimate goal is to create a permanent location for its community cafe, whereby people can enjoy a “pay what you can” lunch, and in the evenings, the cafe would be open to serve dinner and wine at full price, therefore subsidizing the cost of the “pay what you can” model.

A demonstration and educational community garden has recently been planted at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. Soon, phase two of the garden will emerge with the implementation of a community-organizing curriculum whereby neighborhood residents will be empowered to design and operate the garden for their needs. This is just one of many community gardens that Tulsa’s Table hopes to plant with others all over Tulsa in order to help sustain its mission.

Currently, Tulsa’s Table has plans to host a series of “pay what you can” pop-up community cafes in different parts of town, inviting neighbors of that community to enjoy a locally grown, largely organic meal over their lunch hour.

The first “pay what you can” community café opened in 2003 and was called One World Café. A couple of years after opening, the founder of One World Café was contacted by a couple who wanted to replicate the model in Denver, Colo., which is now known as S.A.M.E. (So All May Eat).

Since that time, almost 40 “pay what you can” community cafes have opened across the country, including Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen in New Jersey and Seeds Community Café in Colorado Springs, Colo.

As someone who suffered from food insecurity as a child, StoneSoup Community Venture and Founder Christy Moore was intrigued by the idea so she set out on a mission to make the dream of a community café in Tulsa a reality.

Updated 08-18-2014

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