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Raleigh nonprofit hopes 'pay what you want' pop-ups can help people get healthy meals

Posted August 26

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— A concept to fight hunger around the nation has made its way to the Triangle, and an organizing group in Raleigh says it can provide healthy meals that anyone can afford.

The concept of "A Place at the Table" is simple. The nonprofit allows those dealing with food insecurity to "pay what they want" for good, healthy meals.

The group eventually plans to have a permanent spot in downtown Raleigh, but for now, it's hosting pop-up events in the area, like the one this weekend at Relish Cafe on Creedmoor Road.

Maggie Kane manages the Raleigh A Place at the Table. She says one out of every seven people in Wake County deals with food insecurity. She hopes the nonprofit can help eliminate the worry for some and put the focus on getting healthy meals.

"They can pay the suggested price, they can pay more or pay for someone else's meal who can't afford it," Kane said. "They can pay a little less, or they can pay by volunteering with us."

A Place at the Table's pop-up events allow restaurants and nonprofits to host chefs and serve customers. Kane says "pay what you want" doesn't translate to simply a free meal.

"People want to pay for their meal. People want that dignity that comes with it to pay for their meal," she said.

Relish Cafe's pop-up event from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday will feature a pay-what-you-want breakfast buffet. Relish owner Sharon May says the program is a great way to pay it forward.

"Like the Starbucks thing when people pay for the car behind them, I would like to be able to do that on a regular basis," May said. "So, I would pay extra so somebody else could come in and not need to pay."

May said she hopes her customers' generosity will give everyone a seat for the buffet on Saturday.


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