'We need community': Owner of pay-what-you-can diner has message for William Peace students

ByLaura Browne via WTVD logo
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

As a part of a first-year seminar, students at William Peace University gathered to hear Maggie Kane, executive director of the nonprofit and restaurant A Place at the Table, discuss food insecurity and her business.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As a part of a first-year seminar, students at William Peace University gathered to hear Maggie Kane, executive director of the nonprofit and restaurant A Place at the Table, discuss food insecurity and her business.

While learning college preparation skills, the first-year students also participate in service learning, packing around 14,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger while studying the effects of food insecurity.

Kane discussed the work her nonprofit does to serve food to insecure folks and build a community space in the Raleigh area while also encouraging students to find a place of belonging.

"Find your table," Kane said. "Find that place where you do belong. It is important. We need people. We need community. If the pandemic has taught us anything it's that, yes, more people are hungry, but people are lonely and people really need each other."

Kane opened A Place at the Table, at 300 W. Hargett St., in 2018. The restaurant serves everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

The nonprofit follows the pay-what-you-can model, meaning patrons can pay a suggested price, pay more or less than the suggested price, pay with a place card (a card granting them a free meal) or pay by volunteering at the restaurant.

The idea for the restaurant came to Kane after spending time sharing meals with people experiencing homelessness. Seeking to provide a space for community members to have choice and access to quality food, she began researching business using pay-what-you-can models.

"I said, 'If other places can use a pay-what-you-can model, then certainly a restaurant in Raleigh could,'" Kane said.

According to Kane, A Place at the Table seeks not only to mitigate food insecurity in the area, but also improve community connections by creating a place where all can feel they belong.

"We are a place where the second you walk in the door, you belong," Kane said. "No matter who you are, you belong.