In 2016, A Place at the Table became the city’s first-ever “pay-what-you-can cafe,” where anyone is able to dine at their table regardless of means. Within this model, diners can pay the suggested price of the meal, pay more (pay-it-forward), pay less, or pay by volunteering. While soup kitchens can offer meals in bulk, this restaurant offers a more typical sit-down dining experience where people can eat good, healthy meals alongside other community members—all at one table.

That table just got bigger: On Sunday, June 5, A Place at the Table is hosting a Pay-What-You-Can Food Truck Rodeo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event will take place in the parking lot on the corner of West Hargett and South Harrington street across from A Place at the Table, and will feature delicious meals, refreshments, and desserts from a variety of food trucks including And Also With ‘Cue, Qspresso, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Magdalena’s Chimney Cakes and Bulkogi Truck. Wake Tech is also providing cookies and small desserts.

Admission is free for attendees to enjoy the festivities, and as with the cafe during normal business hours, there will be four different ways to pay for meal tickets. Attendees will have the option to pay for their meal by paying the suggested meal price of $12 a ticket, paying less than the suggested price, volunteering for their meal, or paying a meal forward. Food tickets can be purchased online, ahead of time, or in person at the event.

Another exciting update from the organization is the announcement of their new PLACE Card, a card that looks similar to a credit card or gift card that will be replacing their pay-what-you-can wooden meal tokens. By assimilating all payment options to look like a similar currency, A Place at the Table hopes to bring more dignity and inclusivity to diners. 

Meeting the needs of this community hasn’t always been easy, though. According to organization founder Maggie Kane, A Place at the Table struggled to maintain its community involvement during the height of the pandemic, even temporarily shutting down at one point when overwhelmed by need.

“To get that community back, we really want to partner with other nonprofits and build community with them so everyone’s working together,” Kane told the INDY in 2020. The rodeo is one step forward toward that vision. 

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