Healthy World Café aims to be 'accessible to all'
The community-based kitchen debuted at First Moravian Church in a new partnership.
By LEIGH ZALESKI
Daily Record/Sunday News
York, PA - Cindy Plunkert moved through the food line at Healthy World Café at the Moravian Lunch Room with a wicker basket on one arm.
She filled the basket with spinach quiche, soups and apple crisp for her and two colleagues at Pressley Ridge in York. As she got ready to pay, volunteer Scott Simonds suggested a total of $22. What she paid at the community-based kitchen, was optional. Plunkert, 60, paid the suggested price and $5 more.
"I'm expecting good food," she said. "We really like to support the cause."
Healthy World Café opened Wednesday as a result of a partnership with the First Moravian Church in York. HWC aims to offer healthy meals made from local ingredients and has a pay-what-you-can system. People may pay the suggested price, more to support the nonprofit, or less by volunteering their time.
Chairman Sean Arnold said the nonprofit, which was established about two and a half years ago, had been looking for a location for the past year. The café won the 2011 YorIt Social Venture Challenge -- a $20,000 grant -- and had been promoting itself at events to raise awareness, fundraise and gain volunteers. Organizers wanted to start small, and they had difficulty finding a building that fit the nonprofit's price range.
Earlier this year, the Moravian Lunch Room at First Moravian Church -- which serves inexpensive food once a month as a way to raise its profile and provide the community with a meal -- knew it would lose some volunteers, making it difficult to continue the monthly event.
So the church and Healthy World Café teamed up.
"It was a good marriage," said the Rev. Steve Nicholas, coordinator of the Moravian Lunch Room. "We saw working with HWC as a way to continue offering a lunch at our church."
Arnold said 110 people attended lunch Wednesday. The menu offered spinach quiche with tomato sauce, asparagus and spring minestrone with chicken soups, salads, and apple crisp and dried fruit oatmeal cookies for dessert. Lime-and-arugula infused water and iced tea were free.
The café will open May 23 and every fourth Wednesday starting in September, with the possibility of staying open this summer. He said HWC hopes to eventually open twice a month. HWC's menu will change each month based on the availability of local produce in York, Lancaster and Adams counties.
Arnold said HWC bought most of the main ingredients for this lunch from local farmers and food vendors, including some from Central Market, Perrydell Farm Dairy and Round Barn.
"As we grow, we want to incorporate as many farms as possible," he said. Arnold said the church has been wonderful throughout the transition and that he hopes the community sees HWC as a viable nonprofit. "We want to sell and provide healthy alternatives that are accessible to all," he said.
If you go
What: Healthy World Café at the Moravian Lunch Room
When: 11:30 to 1 p.m. May 23 and every fourth Wednesday starting in September
Where: First Moravian Church, 39 N. Duke St. in York
Healthy World Café is a volunteer-based cafeteria-style kitchen that supports local farmers and aims to offer nutritious meals to people of all incomes. Chairman Sean Arnold said the nonprofit was established about two and a half years ago. Organizers modeled the café after the Salt Lake City community kitchen, One World Everybody Eats Café.
For details, visit www.healthyworldcafe.org.