As so many of you know, The Cafe holds a special place in the heart of our community & those at Cobblestone Project. It is the story of how a vision for caring for our community can emerge from just about anywhere and bring many together with a single goal of caring for those without. Without the story of The Cafe, Cobblestone Project truly would not be what we all are today.
Before it was The Cafe...
Believe it or not, all of this began in the corner of a small soup and salad shop known as World Garden with a case of bananas and a simple question.
"How can we use these to benefit our community?"
Rick and Cindy Boosey, and the team at World Garden, turned that case of frozen bananas into banana bread and through it brought together a community. It was a community asking the bigger question of how can we care for the hungry in our community.
Cobblestone Project first aligned to Rick and Cindy's efforts when Mark Horvath, founder of InvisiblePeople.tv, came to Fayetteville in the first 1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homeless Awareness Rally. Over the course of the next year and half, countless members of our community came to help cook on Sundays & deliver to many local nonprofit organizations. It was through these efforts and with the desire to find a more permanent source of food, The Farm began.
Moving to Samaritan Community Center
When World Garden sadly closed, we did not want this local hunger relief movement to end. We approached the Samaritan Community Center to ask if we could open up the center on Saturday's empowered by all the efforts at World Garden. This met two needs of wanting to expand the ability of Samaritan Community Center to serve their existing clients and engage a community in serving those without. It was during this move that The Garden officially became known as The Cafe.
Over the last year and a half, The Cafe at the Samaritan Community Center has served approximately 125 people per week with a warm meal & a kind heart.
A Hero Behind it All...
There have been so many that have served to bring the vision of The Cafe alive, but there is one person who from the very beginning has committed himself in a way that is even hard to comprehend. Brad Melton has been a foundation that has been constant through the entire life of this initiative.
Brad has not only served the meals, but he has built the infrastructure to support just about every aspect of this initiative. From volunteer coordination, to scheduling cooks, finding the food, and to ensuring the stories of those beings served have been told, Brad has given and given. I believe it is safe to say that through Brad's efforts, our community has seen a true example of what sacrificial giving truly means.
However, for Brad it isn't just about giving, it has been about the relationship with those who humbly come every week. He has helped find them jobs, used his connections to serve Tornado victims in Joplin, found diapers for the children, and just about everything in between. Brad has "loved his neighbor" in a way that truly reflects a dedication of faith fully alive in the world today. A reflection that brings hope. Thank you will never be enough to express our gratitude to Brad. We are thankful to call him a friend, and follow his lead toward a new beginning for The Cafe.
A New Story Emerges...
Beginning January 1, 2012, the operations of The Cafe will be fully transferred over to the Samaritan Community Center. This being done in order to continue to best serve the 125+ people who are served every Saturday. The Cafe is truly core to the mission of the Samaritan Community Center, and they will now be able to fully integrate the Saturday Cafe within their framework of their weekly operations. This move will also allow Cobblestone Project to focus more fully on food production operations at The Farm (food that in part goes to The Cafe). Brad will continue within the operational leadership of The Cafe as his heart is fully with those that he has been serving and living life with over the past year and a half.
Cobblestone Project continues to partner and support the efforts of the Samaritan Community Center in many ways to include partnership within the Our Step program, food production for The Cafe, Shear Kindness and 3 Bags in 2 Days for Back to School Backpack drives, etc. This change is exciting because it allows continue role clarity and further time investment into producing food.
The Samaritan Community Center is doing amazing things and we would encourage all to take this opportunity to serve them as The Cafe moves forward.
We wanted to close with this final memory from Thanksgiving of 2009.
It's because of the vision that original began with Rick and Cindy Boosey, that we can safely say..."we can do this everyday."
We'd love for you to leave your comments below on what The Garden/Cafe has meant to you over the past 3 years.