On West Walnut Street, green doors catch the eyes of passers-by, but what lies behind in One Acre Café is even more astonishing.
Inside, the warm, yellow walls, big windows and local art frame their idea of community involvement. Filled with comfortable chairs and eight-person community tables, the cafe seeks to unite and empower the Johnson City community.
When Once Acre Café opened, their mission was clear.
“Everyone needs a sense of community and a place to eat when they have limited means,” said Executive Director Jan Orchard.
Patrons coming to dine have the option of paying for their meal or working one hour if they cannot afford to pay. Although they have set, suggested prices, One Acre also allows for patrons to pay it forward.
They offer small, medium and large portions, priced at $5, $7 and $9 respectively. If a customer would like to add more money to their bill, that money will allow Once Acre to continue to provide meals for those who cannot afford to pay, but seek to work for what they earn.
“We have been blessed from the day we opened by the strong support of our community,” Orchard said. “People seem to appreciate that we are providing a resource for those within their community who are hungry.”
Due to its non-profit status, One Acre relies on support from the local community to continue their mission to help the community. According to Feeding America, an estimated 18,000 people in Washington County are food insecure.
Food insecurity is defined by lack of access to food or the need to choose between food and basic necessities, such as rent, electricity or healthcare.
One Acre not only serves the food insecure residents, but the greater Johnson City community as a whole.
“We want to feed people regardless of their ability to pay and work together to encourage, support, and build a stronger community,” Orchard said.
For more information, visit http://www.oneacrecafe.org/.