Congratulations on wanting to start a community cafe! We look forward to helping you in this wonderful endeavor to help alleviate hunger in your community and join the 60 cafes that are currently operating, as well as dozens of others in the planning stages.

While community cafes create more food security, they ultimately provide a venue for greater community dialogue. As people come together to address the problem of hunger, they also open doors for growth related to other community issues.


How we can help

As you begin this journey of starting a community café, we have resources to help you along the way. As each café opened, they learned something new that can help others, so we have compiled a set of best practices and can answer questions via phone or email any time. 


read how to get started:

The 80-page manual “OWEE Guide to Starting a Community Cafe” offers a clear description of how to begin. The author is OWEE Board Member Rev. Dr. Chris May, who co-founded F.A.R.M. Cafe in Boone, NC, and teaches non-profit management at Appalachian State University.  



Starting a Pay What You Can Community Café

Here is a clear description of the seven core values of OWEE Pay-What-You-Can Community Cafes and how to make them part of your café model.


Mentoring and Personal Assistance

Our founder, Denise Cerreta, or a member of the OWEE board of directors will be glad to personally answer any questions you have and help provide additional resources and/or connections to existing cafés. You are also welcome to contact any of our existing cafés directly. Once you are ready to have a community meeting about your café idea, Denise or a board member can arrange to participate and assist as available. 


Annual Summit

Nearly 80 people attend this event every year and represent all stages of development, from people just investigating our model of Community Cafés, to existing café operators.  The event features roundtable discussions, breakout sessions with experts, and tours of cafés in the host city and well-respected keynote speakers. Last year in Philly and Next year: TBD