In his book “Having Nothing, Possessing Everything,” the Rev. Michael Mather poses this question:
“What does it look like to live as if the gospel were true?”
When you visit Tricklebee Café, you find an answer.
Located in a Milwaukee neighborhood that has experienced violence and neglect, Tricklebee is a pay-what-you-can community café offering healthy meals, food-service training, and spiritual nourishment. More than that, Tricklebee provides “a space to foster community, connections, goodwill, and a love for real food with simple ingredients.”
Why does this matter? Because inclusive spaces can lead to healthier and more peaceful neighborhoods.
In March 2022 Tricklebee received a $25,000 grant from the Moravian Hunger & Thirst Fund. This award enabled the café to:
- Hire a young man from their neighborhood to harvest fall vegetables, winterize garden beds, and weed out invasive plants from their lawn.
- Purchase a year’s supply of healthy snacks for youth snack bags distributed in the neighborhood.
- Add a mini-fridge with a glass door to the main dining room
- Hire a friend of the café to install a permanent stage on the café lawn. This stage is a major upgrade from the previous stage, which was particle board frames on cinder blocks that were chained together.
- Finally, the grant funds enabled Tricklebee to create a Tricklebee Café cookbook, which features 15 vegan and gluten-free recipes beloved by customers. The cookbook will be available soon in 2023.
When asked about the impact of the grant they received, Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons, Tricklebee’s Executive Director, shared several stories, including:
“A local food entrepreneur has been offering her homemade cold pressed juices to the community via the new mini refrigerator. This is her first go at starting a business, and people are loving her products. We also offer grab-and-go café leftovers in the refrigerator, which are popular with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness.”
Rev. Melby-Gibbons also gave several other examples of how Tricklebee used the grant they received to connect people’s skills with the café’s work and ministry, such as:
- Kitchen assistant who illustrated the cookbook
- Youth interns who engage in gardening, cooking, and administrative tasks in the café
So, “What does it look like to live as if the gospel were true?”
It looks like Tricklebee celebrating people who are overflowing with gifts rather than labeling them as “needy.” It looks like finding abundance in a neighborhood where some might only see poverty. It looks like welcoming every human being into community around the table.
May we all follow Tricklebee’s lead.
To support their work, visit https://www.mmfa.com/tricklebee-cafe-donation-form/).