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California diner gives free meals to those who need it

Words by Tess Becker

Berkeley is a city in California’s Bay Area and home to one of the country’s most prestigious universities, UC Berkeley. But the Bay Area is also one of the most expensive places to live in the US. 

According to RentCafe the cost of living in San Francisco, part of the Bay area is 28% higher than the state average and 79% higher than the national average. Take that plus all the cost of living increases of late and it can be hard to make it by. 

That’s why a diner in Berkeley provides free meals, no questions asked. 

The Homemade Cafe in southwest Berkeley, is owned by Collin Doran, and after seeing people struggle he decided to offer free meals to whoever needed it. 

“We would have people who would come by and they would usually panhandle or ask customers for extra food and my reaction was, ‘Hey, if you guys are hungry or in need of food, we will feed you,’” Collin said.

Food insecurity, sparked by the pandemic led Collin to make his unofficial policy, official, calling it the ‘Everybody Eats Program.’

All someone needs to qualify is to grab a coupon posted on a bulletin board in the restaurant. 

“There was a small concern in the back of my mind that, if it got well known, it would be difficult to deal with a high volume of meals or keep up with everything,” Collin said. “But, I figured, if I'm going to get myself into trouble I'm going to get into good trouble.”

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

Path Home. This organization helps families facing homelessness in Portland, Oregon. Find out more and support them here

Hope South Florida. They help people affected by homelessness across the tri-county South Florida. Find out more

National Coalition for the Homeless. They aid homeless people around the country through their many branches. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partners of the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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