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Humanity Begins With A Meal

If You Are Hungry, There Is Room At Our Table

Trinity Cafe is a free restaurant that offers meals to homeless, hungry, and food insecure. Guests are asked for nothing in return – no mandatory religious services, counseling or proof of need. Our restaurant quality meals are prepared by a professional chef and served by volunteer servers. Guests sit at cloth-covered tables set with dishes and silverware.

Food for Thought

Many of Trinity Cafe’s guests are homeless and jobless. But the food insecure have quickly become a segment of the population who find themselves at our door – often running out of money before the end of the month to feed themselves and their families. Women, children, the elderly, and physically and mentally challenged individuals comprise many of the multitudes we serve. Their stomachs are empty, and they are eager to receive a nourishing meal – for many the only food they will eat all day.

The mission of Trinity Cafe is to restore a sense of dignity to the homeless and hungry while serving a nutritious meal. We faithfully treat all of God’s children with acceptance, compassion, love and respect.

Food Insecurity

One in six people in our region don’t know where their next meal will come from. Many at-risk children won’t eat between Friday lunch and Monday breakfast provided at school. Each day, Trinity Cafe addresses the nutritional needs of the hungry and homeless of Tampa Bay by serving a well-balanced, restaurant quality meal. It is served with unconditional respect and a sense of dignity. Nutrition is critical to the well-being of those facing “Food Insecurity” in our community. We strive to ensure no one goes away hungry.

Making It Happen – Jeff’s Story

“Jeff and his children would visit some of the local parks with fried chicken and offer a meal and conversation to their homeless neighbors, but it wasn’t enough.”

For many years, Jeff attended mass at a downtown Tampa church. He was moved to action when he saw the number of homeless men and women on the steps of his downtown Tampa church seeking help. He and his children would visit some of the local parks with fried chicken and offer a meal and conversation to their homeless neighbors, but it wasn’t enough.
After a priest encouraged Jeff to examine how the church might serve the homeless population, he took advantage of his business travels to research how cities like Atlanta and Chicago served the homeless. Jeff was moved to act when he realized that few – if any – cities provided a place where the homeless could eat on a daily basis without condition. His vision quickly took shape: a free restaurant offering a respite from the street and a delicious, three-course meal served in an environment of dignity, care, and respect.

“The one-on-one conversation and relationship-building he modeled in the parks with his children was the foundation of the model that would establish Trinity Cafe.”

Jeff has been a humble servant working quietly, tirelessly, and persistently for 15 years to make Trinity Cafe succeed. As a volunteer, advocate, and champion, he takes every opportunity to invite someone to join him for lunch at the cafe. He isn’t looking for accolades or fame; he firmly believes that this is God’s work. His mission is to ensure that Trinity Cafe thrives and serves as a model around the nation and the world. His legacy and the legacy of Trinity Cafe will be a consistent presence of unconditional love in this community. It all starts with a nutritious and delicious meal. 

You Can Make It Happen

Trinity Cafe’s model of unconditional service can be replicated in any community. Our guidance is intended as a starting point to begin discernment, conversation and planning the launch of a Trinity Cafe. We ask that the intent and model, which is to restore a sense of dignity to the hungry and homeless while serving a nutritious meal, is followed, and to do so in an environment of unconditional service with acceptance, compassion, love, and respect.

Core values include:

  • Unconditional service to the hungry and homeless in your community
  • Intentional community around a dining room table
  • Restaurant-quality meals in a restaurant-style setting
  • Volunteer-led and community supported

Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a thoughtful and committed group of citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

You will need a network of people to help you succeed. Develop a core group of committed individuals to begin this effort. A steering committee can help with planning, leadership, vetting locations, communication and community engagement. Word of mouth, development, marketing, and communications will be critical to success.

For more information on how you can adopt the Trinity Cafe “model” in your community “to restore a sense of dignity to the homeless and hungry while serving a nutritious meal,” download our Fact Sheet below and/or contact Mandy Cloninger, Executive Director.

HUMANITY BEGINS WITH A MEAL

Trinity Cafe has been successful because the local community supports these efforts. Generous donors, individuals, businesses and foundations support the organization financially and with volunteer support. This effort was cultivated and developed with a core group of individuals from the beginning and continues today.

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Dennis Pitocco
Dennis Pitoccohttps://www.bizcatalyst360.com/
DENNIS is the Founder & Chief ReImaginator of 360° Nation, encompassing a wide range of multimedia enterprises, including BizCatalyst 360° —the award-winning global media digest; 360° Nation Studios —dedicated to reaching across the world in an effort to capture, produce, and deliver positive, uplifting messages via blockbuster global events, and; GoodWorks 360° —a pro-bono consulting foundation focused entirely on providing mission-critical advisory services to nonprofits worldwide. Collaborating with his Chief Inspiration Officer (and wife), Ali, everything they do is "for-good" vs. "for-profit". Their mission over the past decade-plus has been to rediscover humanity at its best, influencing and showcasing it every step of the way. Together, they do their very best to figure out what the world is trying to be —then using all their resources to help it to be better every day in every way. They understand and embrace the notion that it’s not about me or you; it’s about caring for the people we serve and more responsibly stewarding the precious resources in our care. And they believe it’s about showing up, being present, and intentionally giving our invaluable gifts of time, talent, and treasure "for good". Dennis is a contributing author to the Best-Selling Books ♦ Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational ChangeJourney Well, You Are More Than EnoughThe Four-Fold Formula For All Things Wellness: True Stories of the Heart, Spirit, Mind, and Body.

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6 CONVERSATIONS

  1. A truly inspiring story! Having been a volunteer at our local community food pantry for the past 18 months, I’m learning so much about food insecurity and admire those whose vision and leadership offer care and compassion to the hungry in their communities.

  2. There’s something immediately striking about the name Trinity Cafe. You might think it’s the word Trinity, but that’s not it. It’s the word Cafe. How often do you arrive at a cafe and realize it’s entire mission and purpose is to feed the hungry and nourish the homeless? Trinity Cafe takes care of the whole person they are serving the soul while they feed the stomach. 

    You might be thinking you need a place like this in your region. Your ideas can be fueled here in this article.

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