Moravians are cooking up something good at Essentials Café. And there are never too many cooks in the kitchen. In fact, a number of local congregations and organizations are supporting this new “pay-what-you-can” food ministry. It’s an Emerging Ministry of the Moravian Church in America, Northern Province. If you’ve made a gift to the Hunger & Thirst Field of Interest Fund through the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America, you are a supporter too. The combined contributions of time, talent, treasure, and testimony make this ministry work! Essentials Café was inspired by the success of another Moravian ministry, Tricklebee Café, in Milwaukee, WI, which became self-sustaining last year.
Everyone is at home at Essentials Café and all are welcome, regardless of ability to pay. The structure that houses the café used to be a home – the parsonage for West Side Moravian Church in Bethlehem, PA to be specific. The current pastor of that congregation, The Rev. Tammie Rinker, is the first president of the Essentials Café Board of Directors.
“Our mission was to create a place of equality where everyone, with different gifts, abilities, and resources, will have the opportunity to eat, feel welcome, and contribute as volunteers,” Rinker said. “We seek to alleviate food insecurity in the Lehigh Valley and to provide a place where friendships and understanding can flourish across all socio-economic groups.”
But, the transition from residence to restaurant has not been cheap. There were accessibility issues, like a ramp and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant bathroom required to make the cafe a truly welcoming and accessible place for everyone.
The abundant generosity of donors like you, who contributed to the Moravian Hunger & Thirst Field of Interest Fund, made grant funding possible. In 2022, Essentials Café received a $50,000 grant through the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America to help with start-up. As of June 8, 2023, they have used just over half the grant. As soon as the renovations are complete, Essentials Café will be providing food security and fellowship in a wonderfully diverse community. A soft opening is expected this summer. Freshly-prepared, nutritious meals served by friends in a comfortable environment. That’s what’s cooking at Essentials Café, a member of One World Everybody Eats, located at 418 Third Ave., Bethlehem, PA.