Anna Wienke is the executive director of Provision Community Restaurant

Good Neighbors

Restaurant Serves Up A Sense Of Fellowship And Community

A "give as you can" non-profit restaurant in Minneapolis, MN focuses on bringing people together

After finishing a meal at your favorite restaurant, you expect to get a bill; unless you chose to dine at Provision Community Restaurant in Minneapolis, MN.

Provision, like roughly 60 other restaurants in the U.S., operates on a "give as you can" basis.

Simply put, whether you plan to pay for your meal or not, you are a very welcome member of the large tables within this homey space.

Executive director Anna Wienke isn't concerned about profits. She just wants to fill her restaurant with people and give them the ability to connect and overcome isolation.

All the meals are served "family style," with guests sharing the same table and passing dishes of food to each other.

The "give as you can" mantra extends to the giving of your time as well. It's also possible to volunteer as a server at the restaurant.

While everyone likes free food–and the food there is delicious-that's not the goal of the restaurant.

Provision brings people from all walks of life together, especially those in the restaurant's neighborhood.

The volunteer servers make sure no guests sit alone and, ideally, sit next to someone they didn't arrive with.

This isn't some social experiment. It is an active attempt to bring a neighborhood together.

Meals are served "family style" with diners passing dishes around a communal table.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Provision for a meal. It was an incredibly uplifting and unique experience.

When you step through the front door, it's like stepping into someone's home. People from the local neighborhood are there to greet you, get you checked in and seat you.

You're encouraged you to sit with people you don't know or don't know well.

My servers for the night were women from a local church. Once they had finished their serving duties, they pulled up a chair to join us in the meal. Four parties made up of eight people, who didn't know each other an hour before, shared chickpea stew, fresh dinner rolls, pickled carrots, salad, cookies and real conversations about our lives for over an hour. All of us left satisfied.

Dinner is served twice daily, at 5 and 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and brunch is served at 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

How can you start something good?

If you want to support Provision's mission, you can donate here.

To see if there's a similar restaurant in your area, click here. Either way, let's become more neighborly, and #StartSomethingGood!

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