Nonprofit SAME Café Thrives with Pay-What-You-Can Model

Top image: Brady Birk. Photo credit: El Pomar.

Whether through pay-what-you-can caféssuspended coffee initiatives, or food recovery programs, the good citizens of the world are doing what they can to make sure less fortunate folks get a decent meal. And you can count Libby and Brady Birk among the kind-hearted souls working hard toward that end.

With a top-to-bottom community-based model initially sketched out on a cocktail napkin, the Birks' non-profit SAME (So All May Eat) Café in Denver, Colorado uses fresh, organic ingredients from local farms prepared by volunteers. Their official mission statement involves "serving good food for the greater good."

It's a simple enough premise, and it has proven to be quite successful. The healthy fare is served to all who enter -- more than 90,000 mouths over the course of almost eight years. In return, diners pay what they can (or more!) or offer up an hour of elbow grease in the kitchen. No one is turned away and everyone is treated with dignity.

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