Rescued Brunch

I was reading this impassioned opinion piece on Philadelphia food security, I found myself nodding by dwaas76 via flickr Then I got to the bottom and read this little disclaimer:

Meghan McCracken is the Public Relations Associate at the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. She and her housemates run an underground secret café, serving handmade local seasonal and/or rescued food to benefit local non-profits.

An underground, secret café(?!) sounded fun, but what really grabbed my attention was that it served rescued food. A few minutes later, I was on the phone with Meghan, asking all sorts of questions about what they call, appropriately, the Secret Café.

The second Sunday of the month, the six housemates of the West Philadelphia home host a community brunch. They post flyers, clear out the first floor, set up tables and start cooking a set menu. For a suggested $6 donation–after covering costs, the money goes to several non-profits–guests get a full meal from a variety of sources. Meghan told me:

We serve the food that we eat, basically. Things that we believe in. Bulk food, local food, things that aren’t processed and food recovered from dumpsters.

A typical brunch might include pancakes made from rescued flour topped with local strawberries. Three of the six housemates dumpster dive and recover everything from flour and sugar to fruits and vegetables.

We make people aware of that, so if they’re not comfortable with it, that’s fine.

Refreshingly, the group isn’t too worried about health codes and legal issues.

It’s just a community brunch and we’re asking for donations, so hopefully that wouldn’t be an issue.

This Sunday tradition is approaching its one-year anniversary. While it’s not an idea for everyone, I think it’s a clever way to utilize food, fund non-profits and build community. If you’re in Philly and want to experience the Secret Café, contact Meghan at meghanbmccracken at gmail dot com.

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