Beanstalk Foundation

What's right with Colorado is right next door.

Cafe 180

Turn Hunger Right Around

Cafe 180 unites Englewood residents through meals and service

Cafe 180 was born when Catherine Clements, Libby Whitmore and Julie Mihevc went to SAME Cafe. They were so inspired by SAME’s mission of ending hunger and offering dignity to patrons of all walks on a pay-what-you-can basis that they decided then and there to bear the torch too. Since that day in 2009, Cafe 180 has been serving meals on South Broadway in Englewood to a wide client base of professionals, families, students, the unemployed and underemployed, and people living on the streets.

Because there are no set prices, people from all walks of life and economic realities can be a customer. Each person decides if they will pay what they typically pay for a meal, pay a bit more, OR volunteer in exchange for a meal. It’s a remarkable barometer of goodness in the community too. In 2012, Cafe 180 served 14,000 meals, and received an average donation per meal of nearly $10, with 30% of patrons volunteering to pay for their meal, and 20% paying more to “pay it forward.” Cafe 180 is on the forefront of Local Food, and a little thing called food justice… bringing all people together around food and a passion for compassion.

Don’t Mess with Texas

Catherine Clements brings Lone Star-style bluster to battle hunger in Colorado

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, “everything’s bigger in Texas.” Belt buckles, hats, steaks, ranches and attitudes might all spring to mind as good examples. There’s one “bigger” Texas trait that Catherine Clements puts to use every day… and it’s good for all of us. See, Catherine’s “big” is about Heart and Generosity. Heck, let’s put those two terms in all CAPS because that’s the easiest way to show just how big they are for Catherine Clements: HEART and GENEROSITY. Fact is, her PERSONALITY is big too… and that makes for a bold package.

 

Catherine was born in Dallas, and attended college at the University of Texas in Austin (a great town). Then she moved to Denver to get her Master’s, and while here her already big HEART grew bigger. She started Cafe 180 with her friends Libby Whitmore and Julie Mihevc after a visit to the unparalleled SAME Cafe. Catherine was so inspired by the mission to offer anyone a meal in exchange for volunteer time that they decided to replicate the model right then and there.

Big-time Solutions

Catherine and the Cafe 180 team spend their days dedicated to creatively addressing hunger, providing opportunity and dishing out heaping helpings of dignity. And because Catherine’s got that Texas BIG, she has her sights set on opening Cafe 180 locations in other cities. Hunger is a big problem, and it takes a Texas-sized solution to end it.

 

She doesn’t stop there. They also offer counseling (volunteers can receive counseling at Denver Family Institute in exchange for their time) through Counseling 180. She has even started Social Sauce Ventures which intends to recognize and support social enterprises that aim to increase self-sufficiency and personal dignity. All of it means that Catherine’s giving greatness expands until it’s bigger than Big Tex and the Jumbotron in Cowboys Stadium, combined. Hunger better watch out because she surely ain’t messin’ around, y’hear.