Being the change

DENVER, COLORADO. It’s not your usual story about restaurants, food, or about prices and cash registers.

It’s about serving people, serving dignity, and serving hope.

You see, when you have lunch at SAME Café, you become part of a larger mission of helping others, So All May Eat.

picture-201SAME Café, sandwiched between local bars, thrift stores and tattoo parlors on East Colfax Avenue, is the loving work of Brad and Libby Birky. “We think that everybody deserves to eat well,” says Brad. They started the small restaurant by borrowing from their own retirement accounts when no bank would lend them money.

The menu changes daily and features soups, salads and pizza, using mostly organic ingredients prepared fresh by chef Brad.

Customers place their food order and receive a small envelope in which they put their donation for the food they eat. There is no cash register, credit card machine or change drawer. Some pay sparingly. Others are extremely generous. Others can’t pay. They are encouraged to donate an hour doing dishes, sweeping floors, wiping tables, doing some mopping.

Today, with the economy, SAME Café finds more people volunteering.

Despite that, affluent couples mix with those in need. Each enjoys the good food, the chance to be warm and to sit and chat.

One news reporter likened SAME to Gandhi’s admonition to “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Brad and Libby are inspiring builders of a better society. One thing we know is that there are many other Brads and Libbys out there. Their spirit of giving is part of who we are, too. The question is how we will pass it on to others.

You can visit to learn more or make a contribution and you can watch the NBC News report on SAME Cafe here.



2 responses

  1. Jake,

    Just recently I have heard of a similar story involving another town and diner. The owner said that they were able to more than just break even on their operation and were happy to provide food to those that could not pay. Most of the time the folks that could pay left more than the meal was worth! This just shows that given a vehicle, people will show their true nature. Human beings are good by design and it only requires a proper change agent to bring that good out in all of us. If we decide, every day, that everyone we meet has something good to offer, and give them the path and tools for doing just that, we will enrich more than just ourselves. We, they, and countless others will benefit through a chain reaction of learning and mutual support. I like the “be the change” statement but also we must remember to help others be the change as well.

  2. Working Cog… We often forget that we are helped in our journeys when we help each other. Thanks for that reminder. Go forth and do good!

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