Here’s something to think about the next time you sit down for a meal:
Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
– Scott Adams
During this holiday season we’d like to recognize these five restaurants and chefs who are opening their doors, and their hearts, to help others in need.
These individuals are not only helping to improve the lives of those in their communities, but their innovative ideas are a great role model for businesses and individuals alike.
5 Chefs That Open Their Doors and Their Hearts
The Trinity Cafe
Chef Benito D’Azzo
The Trinity Cafe in Tampa, FL is a free restaurant that offers meals 365 days a year, including holidays, to the homeless, hungry, and anyone facing food insecurity. Restaurant quality meals are prepared by professional chef Benito D’Azzo. Chef Ben spent 30 years in fine dining, private clubs, hotels and high volume catering venues, but running the Trinity Cafe kitchen is a career highlight.
At Trinity Cafe, nobody is asking why you’re hungry. No one is asking why you’re homeless. The door is open, just come in and eat.
– Chef Benito
Owners Brian & Mollie Rubenzer + The Casper Family
When Brian and Mollie Rubenzer bought the Cherokee Tavern in West St. Paul, MN earlier this year, there was an unusual string attached: The Casper family, the original owners of the restaurant, made the couple promise to continue the restaurant’s tradition of feeding the needy on Thanksgiving.
Having started the annual tradition over 30 years ago, and the event has grown to serve 4,000 free Thanksgiving meals. The Caspers will continue to help with preparations, beginning at 4 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. The menu has stayed consistent throughout the years with traditional favorites, such as gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, and pie.
Moby’s Vegan Restaurant Supporting The Humane Society
You may have heard of the musician, Moby, but did you know he also owns a restaurant? In 2015, Moby, a vegan for 30 years opened Little Pine in Los Angeles as a way to share his love of plant-based food and beautiful ambiance. Moby is all about quality, saying in an LA Times interview, “If we are losing money, I can’t sacrifice the quality of the food we serve,” said Moby. “I would rather honestly have a restaurant that is 100% organic and loses a little bit of money, than serve compromised food that makes money. I don’t see the point in serving anything that I wouldn’t have in my house.” What makes this restaurant special besides it’s commitment to quality, vegan food? 100% of proceeds from the restaurant goes to animal rights organizations.
Owner John Akkaya
The Mountain View, CA restaurant Don Giovanni has offered a complimentary Thanksgiving dinner for over thirty years to anyone who comes to the restaurant on that day. Owner John Akkaya is originally from Turkey and lived in Chicago before making California his home. It was while living in Chicago that he came across a restaurant offering free Thanksgiving dinners and that gave him the idea. Says Akkaya, “It was a pledge – one day I promised myself that if I ever owned a restaurant, I (would) do it,” The restaurant does not accept donations for the event and community volunteers help out all day long. This year they fed over 1,500 people!
12 Baskets Cafe
Rev. Shannon Spencer
Rev. Shannon Spencer founded the 12 Baskets Café in Asheville, NC to feed the hungry, keep edible food out of landfills and bring all people from the community together.
12 Baskets is a free café that feeds those in need by serving unused, but edible food that has been donated from local grocery stores and restaurants. The café also has a committed group of volunteers who collect the donations, heat and serve food and care for the community dining space.
The Cafe serves lunch Monday through Friday and also has special dining events for holidays. Says Willa Van Camp, a volunteer at 12 Baskets:
We throw out 40 percent of our food in the U.S., much of which goes to the landfill. At 12 Baskets, we have five freezers full of food, and all of it was destined for the trash. There is enough. We just need to get it out and share it.
– Willa Van Camp, Volunteer
Get In The Giving Spirit
Here at Tommy’s Superfoods, we love stories of those helping to feed the needy, both in our community and in yours. Are you or your family volunteering or donating this holiday season? We look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below or on social media!