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Buffalo Strong: Community cafe with goal to feed every person who walks through its doors

"Whoever walks through that door, gets fed."
Big Big Table Community Cafe
Posted at 11:09 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 23:09:47-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Every Monday through Friday, during the lunch rush hours of 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., you can find this bright yellow corner cafe in the midst of the hustle and bustle at Hudson Street and West Avenue.

"Whoever walks through that door, gets fed, whether they have $500, a dollar, 50 cents," the Big Big Table Community Café chef and kitchen manager, Theresa Dempster said.

Welcome to the Big Big Table Community Café, where anyone can walk through these doors and get a meal regardless of what they are wearing or financial status. If patrons do not have money at all, customers still get to eat because the cafe is based on donations.

"We take fresh produce or canned goods, non-perishables, and if you have none of that then you can volunteer with us for about a half an hour or more, and you're paid. Then you can go on your merry way and have a wonderful day," Dempster said.

The cafe opened in October 2021 and since then kitchen manager, Theresa Dempster said they have been able to make connections with other organizations.

Dempster said some have even dropped monetary donations off.

"This place is so important for the city because with all of the— what people like to call 'food deserts'— this is a place where people can get somewhat a healthy meal. They can get a sense of community and there's no stigma of whether they can pay with cash or not," Dempster said.

Jesse Himes said he has become a regular patron of the Big Big Table since march.

The Big Big Table Community Café Jesse Himes said, "The food is healthy, the environment is healthy and then I've made friends with the people who work here, and then some of the other patrons."

He said the cafe has also been able to help him process some of his past trauma.

Himes said, "Especially, after being homeless for a couple of months in New York State and then having a history of different types of things, like substance abuse and mental illness, this is a place I come to heal and to ground."

Ask him what his favorite item is at the cafe and he will gladly said it is the baked goods!

Himes said, "Actually in Buffalo, there's a couple good places where you can get some pretty good meals for free but this is my favorite place to come."

"I'm hoping that the people who come through here and feel that there is no judgment," Dempster said.

Again, the hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Everyone is welcome, including volunteers.

Getting connected is what 7 News is going to help you do by highlighting a non-profit in the city every Monday that's looking for volunteers to show their buffalo strong spirit.

Right now in the Buffalo Strong section of, you will find a list with contact information for more than a dozen organizations in the city looking for volunteers to "get involved".