Many moons ago when I was in college I had a unique opportunity to live in the international house. I had applied too late, the residence halls were full and so I was placed in a house near campus that I shared with five other strangers from around the world. I was initially disappointed. Then I met my housemates. There was Anita from France, Yuki from Japan, Sonya who grew up in the United States but was from Germany, Surupa who was from India, and Katy from Canada! It was an incredible experience as we all navigated our way in a new city and through college. While I have wonderful memories of watching movies and hikes, what I remember most vividly are the meals we shared together.
Being college students none of us had much money. While each of our cupboards looked bare, we quickly learned that when we pulled our resources together we could eat like kings! It was in this community that I learned to appreciate food (and cook it!) from other cultures. It was in this community that I learned the real magic of eating was being able to share it in community. It was in this community that I learned I had much more in common with my international housemates than I had first assumed. It was in this community that I learned the beauty of hospitality. It was in this community that I realized the value of listening and learning from others.
This life lessons learned at the international house shaped me into who I am today, centering me to live a life open to learning from and being transformed by others. When I consider the value of A Place at the Table (APATT) I see these same gifts being offered: community, hospitality, good food, and new friends.
The hard reality is in order to make this community tangible, we need to raise a lot of money. Opening a restaurant is not easy but we know we can do it! APATT needs to raise $250,000 in order to secure a space, upgrade it to be restaurant ready, and operate for one year. I am awe-struck when I consider what has already been given: over $60,000 in donations and grants. But we have so much further to go. If I get fixated on the number I am overwhelmed. Some days I even feel defeated by it. Raleigh is a compassionate community. It is unique and thinks outside the box. Raleigh is a diverse community that is supportive and nurturing. In my core I know that what APATT is doing is important. I know that it will transform lives. I know that APATT will feed the heart and soul of Raleigh by being a conduit of hospitality to all. This can only happen if we are willing to make it so.
Please consider a monthly donation or inspire our community with a matching gift challenge. I hope you will be a part of feeding the heart and soul of Raleigh by supporting A Place at the Table.
-Hollie Woodruff, Board of Directors, Fundraising Chair