They say good things are worth waiting for. We promise that this will be worth the wait. Season 5 of The Charity Matters Podcast will launch next week on February 1st. Like everyone, we needed to take a little break to celebrate the holidays. A moment to catch our breath, to regroup and to work to bring a great new line up of guests for Season 5.
We are experimenting a little bit this season with how often we post and how many episodes to bring to each month. It is hard to believe that we already have over 50 podcast episodes! As I mentioned earlier this month, we are trying our hands at being podcast guests more regularly and not always host. So we promise to share those conversations with you too. Our mission is to spread the word of service and bringing that message to larger groups is part of the job. You might be hearing more of those conversations this season.
Bringing you amazing guests who inspire you, fill you with hope and renew your faith in humanity is our goal. We are always so excited when our guest end up getting national attention after we interview them . A little shoutout to our friend, Maggie Kane from A Place at the Table. Maggie was just on the Kelly Clarkson Show last week. Way to go Maggie! If you haven’t read her postor listened to our conversation you can below. Maggie is so much fun and her work is so inspiring.
Speaking of amazing guest, our Season 5 launch will not disappoint. Next week get excited to meet Susan Axlerod of Cure Epilepsy. Susan will inspire you with her remarkable story of working to find a cure to help her daughter. It is a story you don’t want to miss and the perfect way to start your year and ours. Susan set out to achieve a goal 25 years ago. Each year Susan and her community paved the way raising ninety million dollars towards epilepsy research. Her work and story should inspire anyone with a goal that feels too big.
So join us next week. Take a listen to our conversation with Maggie Kane, if you haven’t yet. Get excited to meet the most amazing people this season. We can’t wait to keep spreading that message of goodness and hope.
YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT, IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please connect with us:
As we say goodbye to 2022 and look ahead to the New Year, it seems like a good time to recognize some of the extraordinary heroes from this past year. Each one of these people has dedicated their lives to helping others and to service. They have committed to a purpose driven life. Many of us are using this week to think about what we want for ourselves next year, well these folks are a good place to start for some inspiration. So if you missed an episode or two or if you are new to Charity Matters this might be the perfect thing to listen to as you put Christmas decorations away and prepare for the year ahead.
Disclaimer: Everyone I interview is miraculous and inspirational but these were some of our extra special conversations this year…enjoy!
I have had some pretty amazing conversations in the past ten years. Conversations that really make me think and look at the world around me in a totally different way. The conversation I had a few months back with Kevin Adler, the founder of Miracle Messages was game-changing for me. It’s my hope that it is for you as well. I will never look at the homeless the same after this eye-opening exchange.
Kevin shares the story of his uncle who lived on the streets and how his uncle’s death inspired the creation of Miracle Messages. A nonprofit that not only reconnects the homeless to their loved ones but also provides a social connection through a phone buddy system and provides cash for rent once the unhoused person is ready.
Roots For Boots
Roots for Boots is a nonprofit that serves those who serve, our veterans. Christy Lucus, founder of Roots for Bootsis an inspiration and was beyond fun to talk too. Christy’s journey from a school principal to a nonprofit founder will amaze and inspire you. You will see why her official title is Chief Enthusiasm Officer!
If you love Veterans, teachers, and all who serve then this hero episode is for you. Christy reminds each of us that we all have something to give, even if it is a positive attitude and a smile.
A Place At the Table
When you think about hunger and homelessness the first thing that pops into your mind is rarely a restaurant. Instead you probably visualize tents, soup kitchens and a host of images. Maggie Kane has created an amazing community and a wonderfully unexpected solution for homelessness. Her nonprofit, A Place at the Table,provides community and good food regardless of means. Her delicious Raleigh, North Carolina cafe is a cozy, warm, friendly cafe with great food and everyone is welcome.
Like Maggie this is a fun, high energy and inspirational conversation about food, community, hunger and the unhoused. Maggie’s warmth, passion for making a difference and southern hospitality will make your day! So join us for A Place at the Table.
Free Wheelchair Mission
Did you know that there are 75 million people on this planet in need of a wheelchair? Can you imagine being disabled and not having access to get around? That is only one of the amazing insights I learned from Don Schoendorfer. Don is the founder of Free Wheelchair Mission. His story is incredible, as is his work in providing over one million wheelchairs to people in need.
Learn how a MIT Biomedical engineer changed his life and millions of others. You won’t want to miss this amazing conversation. Don Schoendorfer is a truly special human who is an inspiration for all with his journey of service.
Drink Local Drink Tap
One of the questions I always love asking our guest is did you grow up helping others? It is always fascinating to see where and when the seed of compassion took root in all the incredible people who do nonprofit work. Erin Huber has an incredible life experience of serving others that started at age 12. She founded her first nonprofit at 16 and continues to this day with her award winning nonprofit, Drink Local Drink Tap.
Join us for an inspirational conversation about what one person can really do to change the world. Erin Huber has been changing it for decades. Her work ethic, passion for helping others and amazing life journey is an inspiration for us all.
I hope you have enjoyed meeting so many heroes this past year and re-visiting these special few today. As you look ahead to 2023 and ask yourself what kind of life do you want? What will your legacy on this plant be? These five people and everyone we interview at Charity Matters are outstanding examples of kindness, compassion, empathy, love and service. At the end of the day isn’t that really the legacy we all want to leave?
Wishing everyone peace and joy in the New Year! Happy New Year!
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When you think about hunger and homelessness the first thing that pops into your mind is rarely a restaurant. Instead you probably visualize tents, soup kitchens and a host of images. Today’s guest, Maggie Kane has created an amazing community and a wonderfully unexpected solution for homelessness. Her nonprofit, A Place at the Table,provides community and good food regardless of means. Her delicious Raleigh, North Carolina cafe is a cozy, warm, friendly cafe with great food and everyone is welcome.
Join us for a fun, high energy and inspirational conversation about food, community, hunger and the unhoused. Maggie’s warmth, passion for making a difference and southern hospitality will make your day! So join us for A Place at the Table.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
Charity Matters: Tell us a little about what A Place at the Table does?
Maggie Kane: It’s the best place and I really just feel so fortunate to work there every day. A Place at the Tableis in Raleigh, where I grew up. So I am also biased to how great Raleigh is. We are a Pay What You Can restaurant. So let that sink in for a minute. There’s not many of us around the country. What that means is we look and feel like any other restaurant that you might go to every single day with your friends and your family or by yourself.
But what makes us different is that you pay what you can and all of our prices are suggested. So you can choose to pay the suggested price or you can choose to pay more and pay it forward for someone else who can’t afford their meal. You can pay less, because we know some weeks are harder than others and all you can do is afford less. Or you can also pay by volunteering with us. When you walk in, you feel like you’re in that regular restaurant I was talking about. You would not know that anything’s different until you get up to the register.
A Place at the Tablesmells delicious with bacon, coffee and cinnamon rolls. Its warm and beautiful and has great music. You feel like you’re in this regular Cafe but then you get up to the register. That is when you get to make that choice of how you pay. Our mission is community and good food for all regardless of means. The main reason we do this is to build community. We use that suggested pricing of bringing all people together no matter who you are.
Charity Matters: What was the moment you knew you needed to act and start a Place at the Table?
Maggie Kane: I’m so fortunate, I have the best job in the world. I’ve the best team in the world. This is a whole community wide effort with a twenty person staff and thousands of volunteers that make this happen. I grew up in Raleigh and kind of always thought I would leave. I ended up going to North Carolina State University, which is in Raleigh, and it was awesome. While I was in school, I was a part of a club where I heard this speaker come in as a speaker that ran a day shelter.
A day shelter is a place where folks experiencing homelessness folks who sleep outside can come in the day. I heard the speaker talking about it and I was immediately intrigued. I went to visit and I ended up staying there every single day, working the front desk, chatting with people, and getting to know people who slept outside.
When I graduated college, I ran the day shelter and I got to know so many more folks on the street. I truly mean they’re my friends. I always thought, what do you do with your friends? You eat with them or you get coffee you get to drink. Food is that tool to bring people together. So I worked with folks on the street and we would eat at the soup kitchen. Raleigh has an amazing soup kitchen that feeds 300 people in an hour. It was in that moment, where I’d be eating with them and I thought wow, this is so different than my life experience. I can go and eat wherever I want.
I just thought we should go out for other meals and celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and really just spend that time together. My friend John changed my life forever, when he picked a restaurant called Golden Corral. When I asked him why he picked it he said,” There are two reasons. I have choice. I get to choose if I want to order a steak or if I want to salad or if I want to waffle. Living in poverty and living on the streets people make every choice for me from what I eat to where I sleep. Second is I feel seen and heard here. Living on the streets people literally step over me they treat me as invisible and here I have value. People greet me at the door.”
That got me thinking, how do we create a place where everyone can come together? Where we can build that community? I started researching and I found the pay what you can model. There are over 15 Other Pay What You Can cafes across the country. I started chatting with some of these other cafes, and said,” You know if other places can do this, then Raleigh can too.”
Charity Matters: What are your biggest challenges?
Maggie Kane: First and foremost, anyone working for nonprofits or working for restaurants, you’re saints. I commend you because it is just hard work. It is not for the faint of heart. The long hours, there’s always something that happens and you’re always short staffed. Running a restaurant in general is difficult.
In the early stages, we couldn’t find a space. So no one would rent to us because we were a wacky idea that you no one really understood. We started asking how can we educate this community around poverty and homelessness? I remember, the kindest real estate agent worked with us for four years before the space and I remember him calling places and landlords actually saying, “No, we don’t want those homeless people there.”
It’s like how do you raise money? But also how do you get a space when this concept is so foreign? I know all my financial people out there are thinking, how does this work? Fifty percent of our customers pay the suggested prices, or more 50% of our customers pay less or volunteer for their meal. So we have to fundraise a lot of money on the outside. But that’s a whole nother concept, and story, but 50% of our diners pay and pay more. And, and that is important.
Charity Matters: What fuels you to keep doing this work?
Maggie Kane: The answer to everything in life in my life is good people. Every moment I meet someone new, who reminds me of why I am doing this. People who encouraged me, cheered me on and sat with me while I cried and cried and said, “I’m not sure how I am ever going to make this work.” You know, how many people told me that this was never going to happen? Most people really think they just thought I was crazy.
They all encouraged me and said this a fantastic job and this is what the community needs. So, I definitely think people people is one. And then I think also, it’s people who aren’t going to eat tomorrow. It was knowing their stories, sitting with them, hearing him. It’s those relationships. I feel like I’m the luckiest person, I said this before but I have the best job.
Charity Matters: Tell us what success you have had and what your impact has been?
Maggie Kane: It’s the power of relationships is the story we tell. I definitely think numbers are important. We feed a lot of people at A Place at the Table, anywhere from 100 to 150 people every single day. We see new people coming in the door every single day learning about what we’re doing, getting a meal, paying what they can. So I definitely think that’s important. But I also think that the community we are building, with relationships of people who really feel present and welcome. Then I think the third thing is by telling the story of our staff. I truly would believe that we should all be paying our staff above a living wage and making sure that they are treated well.
Charity Matters: If you could dream any dream for your organization, what would that be?
Maggie Kane: We opened in 2018 operating this tiny cafe and we fed maybe 50 to 70 people a day. At the time, we thought we were killing it. Then the pandemic hits and we go to doing some 50 people a day from this tiny cafe, to doubling in size. Very fortunate to expand our whole space and get more space, and serving 400 people a day, a free meal. Wow, it was wild!
Now we’re sitting at about 100 to 150. As nonprofits, you have to start realizing are you actually doing you’re supposed to be doing? So we pause for three weeks, we expanded our space and we reopened getting back to our original mission of community and good food. Now that we got through the pandemic, we’re starting to dream which is really, really exciting.
So my dream is really to see Pay What You Can cafes across the country everywhere. And we feel lucky to have such a support here in Raleigh and figured out how a Pay What You Can restaurants can work in a busy downtown setting. So we want to help other people open
Charity Matters: What life lessons have you learned from this experience?
Maggie Kane: So many things! I’ll start with people are everything! Relationships are every thing! I always tell people, lean on people around you for help, people want to help you. People are powerful, and it’s better when you’re in relationships with people. Life is better when you belong and you make people feel like they belong.
People want to help people want to feel a part of something. So do not be afraid to ask. I think the third thing is to celebrate everything! I learned very early on to celebrate that first $5 donation check. From then on, celebrating every little moment. Just celebrating every little part of the journey because it’s it’s more fun that way. And it just it’s short. We only have so much time here.
Charity Matters: How has this journey changed you?
Maggie Kane: I definitely still feel the same way I did 10 years ago when I had no idea what I was doing. And I was thinking, there are people going to figure out that I have no idea what I’m doing. But I have definitely grown in and just felt more confident in this work and just felt more love in this work than I’ve ever felt. Now I truly 100% know my purpose in life and, and I will continue to do that doing that until the day I die.
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