A donate-what-you-can café and community arts venue has opened up in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. Ami Trowell came up with the idea for the community space during the pandemic. Now she has turned that idea into a reality with the opening of Ursula’s Café.
The spot is meant as a place for the community to come together and enjoy good food and entertainment regardless of how much money you have. She had originally thought of a soup kitchen but changed her mind because there's a stigma of walking into a soup kitchen. This way no one knows if you're in need or one of the folks supporting the mission.
They also have pay-what-you-can books, records, and clothes available, too. Trowell and the café’s supporters see it as a good way to give back. “We’re so fortunate, my husband and I and the people that we work with that we have extra,” she says. “There’s just no reason we shouldn’t be able to share that with all the members of our community.”
After only being open for a short while, Trowell says the response has been encouraging and she has a message for anyone in the community who is in need. “We’re here. For you,” she says. “We can’t do it all and we can’t fix everything. But we can make sure that you get at least one hot meal.”