It’s the first Monday in December and that means it’s time to unveil the recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign. This month’s organization came to my attention through a citizen of my little town, and I’m so glad that she shared the story with me.
CafÃ© 180 is the brainchild of Julie Mihevc and Cathy Matthews. Their original idea was to create transitional housing in Englewood, but fate had other plans. Instead, following the “pay it forward” concept pioneered by SAME CafÃ© in Denver, they decided to open their own cafÃ© with a “pay what you can” mentality.
The two focused on opening their cafÃ© on South Broadway in an area of Englewood with many elderly on a fixed income, single parents, unemployed, underemployed and homeless residents. They visualized their restaurants bringing all types of people together under one roof to enjoy good food in the company of good people.
At CafÃ© 180 the rules are simple, you pay what you can, and if you can’t pay you are encouraged to earn your meal by volunteering. This is what I like the most about the restaurant, they aren’t giving a handout, but a hand up.
The cafÃ©’s mission statement sums it up nicely:
“CAFE 180, recognizing our universal appetite for delicious, nourishing food and social connectedness, is dedicated to eliminating hunger and social barriers associated with food by feeding all people regardless of their ability to pay, in a dignified and respectful manner.”
The words that jump out at me are dignified and respectful. Any one of us could find ourselves down and out tomorrow, but we’d still want to be treated with respect, and CafÃ© 180 keeps this top of mind at their establishment.
There are no FREE lunches at CafÃ© 180, but three ways you can pay for your meal:
1. Pay what you would typically pay.
2. Pay by giving an hour of service in exchange for your meal.
3. Pay what you would typically pay, plus a bit more to “pay it forward.”
With the holidays in full swing, I hope you will consider taking the family for a meal at CafÃ© 180 this season; what a wonderful way to teach your children about giving and receiving.
CafÃ© 180 is located at 3315 S. Broadway in Englewood, Colorado.