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KC's first 'donate what you can' cafe seeks sponsors

Thelma's Kitchen
Posted at 4:36 PM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 18:23:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A local father/daughter Realtor duo teamed up to serve a free meal Friday to people in Kansas City, Missouri, with the goal of encouraging other local businesses to get involved and pay it forward.

George and Eli Medina have worked together as real estate agents for ReeceNichols Real Estate since 2012, but the pair took a break from showing houses and instead were shown around the kitchen.

"We love supporting Kansas City," George said. "We're lifers and we just thought this is a neat thing, so we've been here and now we're going to be hosting the lunch."

Friday wasn't the Medinas first visit to Thelma's Kitchen, which opened in July as the city's first pay-what-you-can cafe at 31st Street and Troost Avenue, but it was their first time volunteering as servers there.

The new program is called "Lunch on Me KC."

Local groups and companies can sponsor lunch for one day with a minimum $500 donation, which covers the cost for everyone to eat that day. Any money from paying customers helps benefit the kitchen's mission.

"That money goes to kind of building up deeper stability for Thelma's Kitchen, but also to support social services, like helping somebody get an ID or case management time or therapy hours," Communications and Grants Manager for Reconciliation Services Jodi Mathews said.

Reconciliation Services is the local nonprofit responsible for opening Thelma's Kitchen last summer.

Several groups have stepped up to sponsor lunch in recent months, a trend the Medinas hope will continue.

Every day, the kitchen serves more than 100 plates of food with a suggested donation of $7 for a small plate and $10 for a large plate. If customers can't pay, the kitchen asks that they volunteer in exchange.