Service snippet: There’s A Place at the Table for all

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Nikolai Kutsch, News Editor

Service Snippets is a section of our paper meant to inform students about local volunteer opportunities, whether to fulfill service hours for clubs like NHS or simply to get involved in their community.

Nestled between the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets of Raleigh’s downtown Hargett Street is A Place At The Table, the first pay-what-you-can cafe in the Triangle area.

Stepping up to the register and ordering a meal, each customer decides how to pay. They can pay a suggested price, volunteer for one hour, use a meal token someone has given them, or pay as low as $3 dollars. 

Maggie Kane, an NC State (‘13) graduate, created the non-profit as a space to connect her community and provide substantial, dignified meals to those in need. In her 2019 talk at TEDxCaryWomen, Kane emphasized the urgency of food insecurity in central North Carolina. “1 in 7 people are food insecure and 1 in 5 children are hungry,” she explained in the talk. “Knowing these numbers and getting to know so many incredible people experiencing poverty, I knew I needed to do something about it.” 

While A Place At A Table employs professional chefs and staff members, this non-profit is mostly run by volunteers, many of which are high schoolers.  The cafe features a rotating seasonal menu as well as breakfast staples (syrup-drizzled waffles and buttermilk biscuits among others), loaded lunch sandwiches, and an array of espresso offerings. 

Customers streaming in from the city sidewalks between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. range from NC State students to families to homeless neighbors. This gathering place features a vibrant, community-rich atmosphere, truly embodying its motto: “All Are Welcome.”

As a volunteer, you’ll sign up online for a 3-hour volunteer shift in the morning or early afternoon. When you arrive, the lead volunteer will greet you and you’ll get your first role. Your job description could include: delivering salads and iced lattes to customers, bringing empty plates to the dish room, sanitizing tables, or rolling silverware. 

You can sign up on A Place At The Table’s official website (tableraleigh.org). If you have any questions, you can contact Emily Weidman (Manager of Volunteer Engagement) by email at [email protected].

Message from Emily Weidman at A Place At The Table for FVHS Students:

“We love our volunteers at A Place at the Table and truly could not exist without them. Our volunteers do just about everything in the cafe from running food, washing dishes, cleaning tables, greeting customers, and even doing prep work in the kitchen. Volunteering with us is FUN. You’ll meet so many people and really feel a part of the amazing Table community as soon as you walk through the door. You’ll learn everything from our other rockstar volunteers when you arrive for your first shift. Be open to trying many different tasks, but if you can’t do something,  just let your Lead volunteer know that day.”