There is perhaps no better sense of community than the one we find around the dinner table. So, when members of the Rich family heard of an opportunity to support New York’s first pay-as-you-can cafe, Big Big Table, they knew they wanted to be a part of it.
Recently opened on Buffalo’s West Side, Big Big Table aims to combat food insecurity by bringing community members together in a warm, welcoming environment that encourages a culture of contribution. “Everybody Eats. Everybody Gives. Everybody Matters.” That’s the slogan and driving force behind the cafe. Guests will be treated to a menu of seasonal, nutritional meals and be able to come together in a way that builds community.
“We are really passionate about food rescue, especially surplus or damaged inventory that might otherwise go to waste. We have a special niche in the food system, and we craft our daily menu around what’s available,” explains Big Big Table’s board president Stephanie Smith.
No matter what the dish is however, no one will ever be turned away because of an inability to pay. Instead, they’ll be encouraged to choose their level of participation and give back, sharing their time and helping their neighbors.
Big Big Table Community Café, Inc. is a member of One World Everybody Eats, a network consisting of 35+ organizations utilizing a sustainable, global enterprise model. With Big Big Table, head chef and founder Mandy Bailey is introducing a new way of thinking about the fight against food insecurity. A former caterer with over a decade of experience, she’s witnessed firsthand the rampant food waste that often occurs in the industry. Disappointed but motivated by what she’d learned, Bailey founded Big Big Table to address community food needs and reduce waste, all while bringing people together to share a nutritious meal. And this shared sense of community has been going strong from the start.
A few weeks prior to the cafe’s opening, the Rich Family and a few Big Big Table associates got together to get the West Side’s newest neighbor looking its best and ready for guests. After a few hours, many helping hands, and a lot of paint, Big Big Table opened its doors in October.
“The Richs really got us! They have contributed in so many ways, engaging with us very personally and as a family. They have been a wonderful support in helping us to finally open our doors!” – Stephanie