BUTTE – The Butte Community Café is a pay-what-you-can restaurant that and serves free meals to the homeless and the needy.
“Sometimes people don’t realize, you know, there but for the grace of God I could be in that situation,” said Debbie Todd, a member of the Heart of Butte committee.
The restaurant opened last April as a non-profit called the Heart of Butte, which is a coalition of community groups trying to help the food insecure and homeless.
The restaurant serves breakfast and burgers meals at a recommended price of $10 at lunchtime and then provides free meals to the needy in the evenings.
The group keeps costs down through the help of dozens of volunteers.
“There’s a lot of people in need and I just think that an important thing to do is to help how we can,” said Jeanette Quist.
The café receives food donations from several local businesses. For example, when it started last spring, St. James HealthCare donated food five days a week.
“We are doing well enough that we are now cooking our own food four nights a week and the hospital’s just being it three nights a week,” said Todd.
She said she’s amazed by how generous the people of Butte have been to this project.
“Actually, it’s been my experience that the people who don’t have a lot give, by and large, more than people who do have a lot,” she said.
The café has a cozy restaurant feel. There are flowers on a clean table because the idea is more than just feeding the needy — it’s to serve them with a sense of dignity and kindness.
“We want them to know that we are here for them that we care about them and that we want to get to know them,” said Todd.
Regular patrons appreciate this place in their community.
“There is defiantly a lot of folks like my auntie here that kind of depend on this place. To go to eat, to warm up, to see friends, this is kind of a social meeting place to,” said Ben O’Connor.
Café organizers hope Butte’s generosity will get them through the winter.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News