Community Cafe – It’s a Neighborhood Thing!

Published October 1, 2014

St Johns community cafe 2 St Johns Community CafeEvery fourth Saturday of the month, St. John’s Episcopal Church’s Trimble Hall morphs into the Community Café. The brainchild and passion of Susan and Bob Rauth, the Community Café has been serving a free lunch to anyone who comes for nearly two years.

The lunch planned for September almost didn’t happen. A nasty case of flu sidelined the cooks and made preparing the food an impossibility this week. Reluctantly Susan sent out a “We have to cancel email.” That’s when the miracle happened.

“Cancel? No way!” spoke up a nearby neighbor. “Every month I’ve been watching neighbors and guests enjoy their monthly lunchtime. I can’t bear to see it cancelled.” She and her husband opened their freezer and grill and provided enough burgers, hot dogs, and Italian sausages to serve 100 people. Salad, chips, coffee, lemonade, rolls, and all the trimmings for the burgers and dogs completed the meal.

Alerted by email, church regulars and a few extras came to help. But the neighborhood also responded. One mother showed up with her two daughters to set up, serve, and clean up. Other neighbors were holding a yard sale right down from the church. In addition to selling their wares, they were also “on reserve” to help with the lunch. “Each one would have left the sale to work if needed,” the organizer and ringleader said.

No one in the neighborhood wanted their names used. “Just say it’s the community,” the leader said. That community celebrated Porchfest in music and food two weeks ago. The street party drew many to admire the distinctive architecture of the homes on South Prospect Street and enjoy diverse musical offerings from rock to classical to country to bagpipes. Today some of those same people came together to provide food for neighbors.

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