People who need people are the luckiest people? More like people who feed people. In this cynical world of online bullying and drone strikes, it restores our faith in humanity to know that someone actually cares. Let’s take a look at some of the forward-thinking foodies doing their best to lend a hand.
Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philly has an entirely fresh take on how to feed the homeless: the restaurant allows customers to pre-purchase a slice for someone in need, then stick a Post-it on the wall to represent their contribution. Anyone who’s hungry can come in and redeem the Post-it for a free slice, giving them a tasty option and letting them know where their next meal is coming from. And with slices that cost a dollar a piece you can’t go wrong, letting you help out a few people in need and get your fill with a five spot.
Both of these companies are trying to turn lives around first hand with their employment practices. LA’s Homeboy Industries offers a safe and productive space for former gang members and ex-convicts to seek employment; Dave’s Killer Bread has been empowering ex-convicts (who make up about 30 percent of their workforce) in a similar fashion. The end goal is to help reduce recidivism rates (basically, where privatized prison companies try to continue making money by retaining repeat offenders). Meanwhile, these companies are also turning out delicious food stuffs.
When not charging $6 for asparagus water, Whole Foods is actually doing quite a bit to support community enrichment. For starters, all the food from their buffets gets donated to local food banks to help feed the less-fortunate. Secondly, the swanky supermarket chain holds “5% days,” where five percent of a given day’s proceeds go directly to help a local nonprofit or educational organization.
These New York altruists combine their big hearts with a hearty breakfast. The idea came to founder Teddy Fitzgibbons when a homeless man asked him for the rest of his breakfast sandwich. Realizing how simple and cost effective it would be to take care of this one meal a day, he began accepting donations to serve breakfast sandwiches to those in need. Anyone can visit their website to donate a meal plan, which ensures that homeless people throughout the city will receive a breakfast sandwich through one of Hearty Start’s trusted partners.
No amount of charity can undo the remorse of drinking too much in a night, but The Oregon Public House will at least relieve your guilt over not giving back. Of course there are prices, but the company donates all of their proceeds to a local charity of your choosing while you’re boozing. Now, that’s something to toast to.
The SAME Cafe (SAME being an acronym for “So All May Eat”) has a very affordable menu—customers are allowed to pay whatever they can afford. The idea is that everyone deserves a decent meal, and anyone down on their luck can donate their time to help keep the Cafe running. Of course if you can afford to pay, it’s nice to kick in a little extra to make sure that the less-fortunate have something to eat.