Community Cafe, Bozeman, MT

We picked up our latest visitor, Christopher, in Salt Lake City and headed north! After a few days in Yellowstone National Park (I could have spent weeks exploring such a magical place) on the corner of Montana and Idaho, we were ready to meet new friends, get back into civilization, and help others.

The Community Cafe in Bozeman, Montana greeted us with a warm welcome! We were invited to join them the night before for dinner. We showed up and paid it forward for a family of four to enjoy a meal.

Their mission is quite unique. They are a Pay-What-You-Can restaurant where you choose the price, pay it forward, or dinner’s on them. They serve healthy, well prepared, nutritious meals in a sit-down restaurant setting. This is part of what makes it a place customers want to share and return to again and again. The Cafe provides a restaurant style dinner service to anyone who eats, regardless of their ability to contribute.  Operated on a pay what you can model, allowing those who can contribute to pay it forward for others who cannot.  In 2014, they provided over 50,000 dinners.  Dinner is prepared by the culinary team, served by committed groups of volunteers lead by their evening service coordinators. They provide delicious, family-friendly meals 7 days a week from 5 pm-7 pm, 365 days a year.
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This morning we arrived during off hours and were immediately put to work in their small but jam packed pantry. Having recently recorded multiple shipments of donations and short handed on volunteers, the three of us went right to work. We took everything out and sorted by expiration date. Anything that was past 2014 would be donated to another organization. Anything from 2014-present we kept and reorganized in a way where the staff can quickly and easily walk in, grab what’s needed, and head back into the kitchen.

What would have easily taken Linds and I a lot longer without our honorary gypsy was done in just over two hours. The ladies in the kitchen were jamming to music while prepping this evening’s meal.

Afterwards, we were picking up mail at the local post office. We were parked next to a food delivery truck when we were approached about our story and our mission. The driver, Megan, shared that she had recently come back from doing a similar trip for four months. Next, she asked if we were vegetarians and us gypsies can’t be picky and happily accepted three backs of Yellowstone Grassfed Beef Jerky. 32 years later and we are obsessed with the stuff! One bag was gone before sunset as we headed to Wyoming.

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