Food, Coffee, and Kindness Are Free
Judgment is checked at the door of Sarasota’s Remnant Café. And the food and drinks are healthy and warm, just like the service.
Run by the leaders of Remnant Church, the café is a locale with a truly altruistic slant. It exists to serve the area’s homeless population “through respect and the love of Christ and a free cup of coffee,” says Tammy Burns, director of the homeless service ministry.
Though the café has only been open in its current location since November, Burns has worked for the ministry for 15 years. She has witnessed firsthand the struggles of local homeless individuals, and she has never given up on serving them, no matter the obstacles.
“Two years ago, we did a once-a-week Sunday coffee shop in conjunction with the Salvation Army (they had offered us space), for nine months,” Burns says. “Once that ended, we had to look elsewhere. It was tough. But now, someone gives us the space for free and pays all the utilities. It’s such a blessing.”
The café is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Everyone is welcome to come and go as they please, Burns says. Depending on the weather, Burns; her husband, Frank; and their 13 volunteers serve 70 to 100 people. Incomers can sign up to take a hot shower onsite. Meals, hot chocolate, and coffee are served all day. The café accepts food donations and underwrites the costs for the remainder of the menu inventory.
“We try to always serve something relatively healthy like soup with fresh veggies, or a pot of beans with kale or spinach,” Burns says. “We get bread from another ministry that picks it up from Publix and passes it on to us. We’ve also gotten great donations from the community, of things like fresh green beans, avocados for guacamole, and huge boxes of fresh red potatoes.”
The patrons greatly appreciate the food, of course, but there is so much more to Remnant Café than that. It is a place where human beings are treated equally and respected unconditionally, Burns says.
“I’m not going to cure homelessness in Sarasota by having a café.
But I have learned that it’s innately human to want someone to care about you,” Burns says. “Most people who come here don’t feel worthy of anything better than what they have. Until they feel loved, they’re not going to have the motivation to change. When they know that they are loved, you do start to see them change, and that’s amazing to witness.”
► Remnant Café: 8020 20th St, Sarasota, 941-320-3554