Plans for Elizabethton community cafe in motion

Published 5:04 pm Thursday, May 3, 2018

Taking the successful model of Johnson City’s One Acre Cafe into consideration, Jessica Bitner is hoping to see the same type of results in Elizabethton and Carter County.

Bitner announced to the Carter County Community Advisory Board that plans are moving forward to bring in a healthy, community cafe to the area as a way to promote healthy living and giving those less fortunate a way to eat and volunteer.

Working alongside Sarah Slagle, Bitner told the board the concept for the local cafe would incorporate the mission of One World Everybody Eats.

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According to the One World Everybody Eats website, there are more than 60 “pay-what-you-can” community cafes operating in America and that over 50 others are being eyed for other countries.

Community cafes allow patrons to pay what they can. Opportunities are available for patrons to work off their payment by volunteering around the cafe on different duties, including janitorial work and dishes.

Bitner added the goal is to help those in the community that fall into the poverty threshold and others that may be going through tough times financially by serving low-cost, healthy treats at the cafe.

Elizabethton’s own community cafe is still in the planning stages, but Bitner added that momentum is starting to pick up. Organizers are currently looking to utilize grant funding and community support to help get the cafe operating. The ideal location for the cafe, according to Bitner, is to have the cafe located in downtown Elizabethton due to its proximity to the Tweetsie Trail and centralized location.

One key step has already been accomplished. Bitner added that the United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County has partnered with her and Slagle to help make the project a reality.

“It isn’t really a matter of if, but when,” she said. “We’re looking to raise awareness on the project now.”

Volunteer opportunities are available for the cause. To learn more, visit the Carter County Community Advisory Board Facebook page. Additional information on the project will be provided when made available.