By Elizabeth W. Duda
Fort Mill, SC (Jan. 5, 2020) School may have been out, but that didn’t stop Eat Smart Move More York County (ESMMYC) from taking a field trip in August 2019! Instead of hosting our regular general membership meeting, we volunteered with The Community Café. Participants served free meals from the food truck to community members. The Community Café works to reduce food instability in Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Lake Wylie and Tega Cay.
This volunteer opportunity was consistent with the ESMMYC core value of health equity. We believe that equitable access to healthy eating and active living options is imperative throughout York County neighborhoods and communities. One participant, Latisha Holt of York School District One who also runs the York County Summer Feeding Program, commented, “It was a great experience and I plan to do it again!” Kristi Krathwohl, food truck manager, noted the importance of volunteers to help prepare, serve and clean up the meals.
The Community Cafe is a volunteer-driven organization that has served approximately 400,000 meals since it began operating in 2010. All are welcome to take a free meal (or as many as they need!), no questions asked. The Community Café serves approximately 1,500 meals a week out of its two Fort Mill locations, Lake Wylie location, and food truck. The food truck enables them to travel to in-need Rock Hill and Fort Mill neighborhoods. Krathwohl looks for ways to get the word out to members of the communities they serve, and has knocked on doors to tell folks that these free meals are available.
- The Community Café @ Lake Wylie Lutheran Church, 2906 Hwy 160 West (at Gold Hill Road), Fort Mill/Tega Cay – serving lunch from 11:30 am to 2 pm on Fridays
- The Community Cafe of Sisk Memorial Baptist Church, 115 Massey St. Fort Mill – serving lunch from 11:30 am to 2 pm on Thursdays
- The Community Café at Lake Wylie Christian Assembly, 5766 Charlotte Hwy (Rts 274/49), Lake Wylie – serving lunch from 11:30 am to 2 pm on Tuesdays
- “His Daily Spread” food truck – now serving lunch on
- Thursdays at A Place for Hope (Blackmon Road Community); Catawba Terrace; and Celriver Road Trailer Court – Rock Hill
- Fridays in Paradise (Steele Street Park) and Knollwood Apartments – Fort Mill
Mary Rasmussen, assistant to The Community Café president, comments, “We are grateful to have ESMMYC partnering with The Community Cafe recognizing all the hard work Kristi and Richard [Concato] put into our food truck route. We’d love to add more neighborhoods and an extra day to our food truck route. We can’t do so without community partners like ESMMYC and donors willing to support the truck. Currently we travel to neighborhoods that serve in communities with no running water…with food-truck visitors wearing shorts in winter time. We can help so many more neighbors with the help of great folks like you!”
The Community Café is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that operates solely on donations (i.e., no government funding). They receive leftovers from local stores including: EarthFare, Publix, Cupcrazed, Panera, Springs Farms. They always welcome donations, volunteers and new customers.
More information on The Community Cafe:
- Facebook: @CommunityCafeUSA (Community Café USA) or @FMCommunityCafe (Fort Mill Community Cafe)
- Instagram: CommunityCafeUSA
- Twitter: @CommunityCafeUS
- Website: https://www.communitycafeusa.com/
- Signup Genius to volunteer: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0844abaf29abf49-food
- GoFundMe to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/freemeals