Watch

"Is There Food at the Library?"

Creator:
Published:
March 12, 2024
March 11, 2024
Watch this video about how SAME Cafe in Toledo, Ohio, changes lives with a unique approach.

At SAME Cafe in Toledo, Ohio, delicious meals are not just for those who can afford them. This cafe is run by volunteers who help prepare and serve the food — in exchange for a fresh, healthy meal from the cafe. Heather is one of the many volunteers who helps provide nutritious and tasty food for all. SAME Cafe is making a positive impact on those who visit, not only through its mission of food accessibility and equality but also through the community they're building.

Heather shares, "For me, to be so open, I think has allowed me to get to know some unbelievably amazing people that normally would not have crossed paths with me in my everyday life. So I've met some of the most hard-working, honest, just absolutely amazing people, just by having lunch.”

Video Transcript

Heather: Fifteen minutes of me trying to open a hairnet.

(Prepping food in the kitchen) Long strips, isn’t that the technical term?

Courtney: It doesn't have to be long, as long as it's like —

Heather: Roll-able?

Courtney: Yeah.

Heather: Okay. Thank you.

Courtney: Good luck.

Heather: Thanks.

Courtney: Okay. My name is Courtney Schmidtke, and I am the chef at SAME Cafe Toledo. One of the main aspects and one of the main goals of SAME Cafe is to provide everybody with healthy food, especially those who would otherwise not be able to have access to healthy, organic food.

SAME Cafe Volunteer: Would you like one piece or two pieces?

Courtney: All they have to do is just donate their time. And they can come and eat however much they want. It's unlimited soup and salad. So they'll be here for a minimum of 30 minutes. Sometimes, we have super awesome volunteers that will stay past that. But they can be doing anything from sweeping the floors and wiping the tables to all the way coming back and helping me prep in the kitchen. So Heather works for SSOE across the street. I guess she came when we first opened, and she will tell you she got hooked.

Heather: When I sat down on day two and I said, "Hello, my name is Heather and I live here now," I was not kidding. For me, I didn't come here planning for a healthy meal, but it has been a wonderful surprise. Honestly, my cholesterol has dropped 60 points since I started eating here, to be fully honest. And that's only one meal a day. My first experience was I saw patio tables outside. And I said, "Is there food at the library?" And all my coworkers were like, "No, there's no restaurant over there." I'm like, "There's food at the library. I'm going to find it." And so a coworker and I came over, tried it out for the first day, and fell in love. I come here every day. I eat my lunch for a half hour, and then I donate my time for a half hour. If I'm able to be here longer, I go longer. So if I could work here, I would work here. Let's just put it that way. I have actually become friends with a handful of regular guests here at SAME.

Michael: The funny thing about it is Julia Child and I share the same birthday, so it's kind of ... I'm like a fixture downtown. "Oh, there's Michael." It's like if I don't show up, they start worrying. Oh, yeah. It's really good. It's very organic. So I grew up on a very large farm, and I eat really good. I like to think so. I enjoy volunteering here and helping them out. Old Indian saying, "Many hands make light work." So yeah, read a book and grab a good meal. And yep, see where the day leads you I guess.

Heather: For me, to be so open I think has allowed me to get to know some unbelievably amazing people that normally would not have crossed paths with me in my everyday life. So I've met some of the most hard-working, honest, just absolutely amazing people, just by having lunch.

Actually, I have been in a position like that myself, which I think is why SAME speaks so directly to me personally. I have never been homeless per se, but I have been in positions in my life where my family and I have not been able to provide necessary food. We have stood in line at food banks. We have been on government assistance. And something like this didn't exist back in that time. And to know now that this is available to those in our community is just ... I think that's what really drives me to want to be a part of this. Because had there been something like this, it would have been just such a weight lifted off, that I would have been able to bring my family, my girls here, to have a hot meal and not just be a number in line. And that is one thing I love about SAME is they treat every single guest with such respect. And it's just ... Yeah, I don't want to start crying. So that's where I'll end on that.

Creators:
Grotto, Kevin DeCloedt
Published:
March 12, 2024
March 11, 2024
On a related note...
Podcast Helps Military Spouses Find Community

Podcast Helps Military Spouses Find Community

Grotto

Meet the Veteran Giving Out Free Cold Brew

Meet the Veteran Giving Out Free Cold Brew

Grotto

The Day I Almost Died

The Day I Almost Died

Megan Brown Czerwinski

6 New Workouts To Change Up Your Routine

6 New Workouts To Change Up Your Routine

Claire Krakowiak

7 Steps to a Closet Detox

7 Steps to a Closet Detox

Lillian Fallon

A Toolkit for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

A Toolkit for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Evan Holguin

Winter Cocktails: Warming You From the Inside

Winter Cocktails: Warming You From the Inside

Ken Hallenius

5 Ways to Care for Your Parents as an Adult

5 Ways to Care for Your Parents as an Adult

Stephanie DePrez

Free Download: College Packing Checklist for Roommates

Free Download: College Packing Checklist for Roommates

Grotto

What 36 Hours on the Streets of Chicago Taught Me

What 36 Hours on the Streets of Chicago Taught Me

Rick Becker

Half Helen Helps People See with Her Mobile Eye Clinic

Half Helen Helps People See with Her Mobile Eye Clinic

Grotto

Why I Ditched Multitasking For Brain Dumping

Why I Ditched Multitasking For Brain Dumping

Mariah Cressy

Food is a Lot Like Love — Here’s Why

Food is a Lot Like Love — Here’s Why

Grace Spiewak

‘We Needed an Influx of Love and Joy’

‘We Needed an Influx of Love and Joy’

Sarah Pelrine

4 Ways to Make Almost Any Meal Taste Better

4 Ways to Make Almost Any Meal Taste Better

Anna O'Neil

Raising Awareness to Prevent Drowning

Raising Awareness to Prevent Drowning

Grotto

3 Ways to Prepare for Being a First-Time Parent

3 Ways to Prepare for Being a First-Time Parent

Kelly Sheredy

Podcast Tells the Stories of Palestinian Christian Women Behind the Wall

Podcast Tells the Stories of Palestinian Christian Women Behind the Wall

Grotto

This Coach Uses Ultimate Frisbee to Teach Life Lessons

This Coach Uses Ultimate Frisbee to Teach Life Lessons

Grotto

Easy Self-Care Practices to Manage Holiday Stress

Easy Self-Care Practices to Manage Holiday Stress

Julia Hogan-Werner

newsletter

We’d love to be pals.

Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll meet you in your inbox each week.