IN THE NEWS
Cheryl and Matt Kaufman,won a humanitarian
award from the Washington Restaurant Association
for its efforts to feed low-income and homeless residents.
Source: Skagit Valley Herald
August 08, 2008
MOUNT VERNON—Reverie BBQ of Mount Vernon has won state recognition this
summer for its work to feed the poor and homeless.
The restaurant sells food all month so that it can provide free meals to those who need them
on the last five nights of the month - when money is often especially tight for low-income people.
The humanitarian award through the Washington Restaurant Association came with a
500 cash prize. Those winners qualify to compete in a national competition with
contestants in 49 different states in Washington D.C. in December.
Reverie BBQ owner Cheryl Kaufman never saw the e-mail notifying her that Reverie BBQ
won at the end of June, but she received a phone call July 31 asking her if she would attend
the national award ceremony. They suggested she use her $500 to fly out. But she knew
where that money would go—toward fresh vegetables for a growing number of hungry people.
Now, she has a special reason to hope for a win at the national level—a prize award of
$5,000. Cheryl and her husband Matt Kaufman could use the help. Last month, Reverie
saw record numbers of people coming in for a meal. The group served more than 1,000
people from July 27 to 31. The first year they opened, they served fewer than 200 in a week.
All the money earned at the restaurant during normal business hours pays for the free meals.
Tough times mean longer lines at Reverie BBQ
August 01, 2008
Volunteer Gordon Kimbell, left, serves a plate to Mike Caling
of Mount Vernon at the Reverie BBQ Wednesday evening. The Mount Vernon
restaurant’s owners, Matt and Cheryl Kaufman, serve free food to
people in need the last five days of each month.
Source: Skagit Valley Herald
MOUNT VERNON — A few months ago, Jamayshaw Merculief had a steady office job and a roof
over her head. Now she spends her days homeless, without a job and with kids to feed.
Merculief, 21, of Mount Vernon, said she made good money, and budgeted
her finances well, but her rent spiked from $800 to $1,100 in one month.
With kids and no roof over their head, she had to quit her job and start looking into alternatives.
But she’s not without a few resources. At the end of every month she joins hundreds of others
at the Reverie BBQ on South Second Street in Mount Vernon for a free hot meal among friends.
The restaurant, run by Matt and Cheryl Kaufman, welcomes more and more people like Merculief lining
up at its door. The couple operates the restaurant so they can offer a free hot meal each night
for the last five days of the month.
When the Kaufmans started the program three years ago, they would feed 170 people in a week. But
In the last three months they’ve watched the lines grow longer. Monday night alone they fed 270,
and as of Thursday afternoon they expected to reach 1,000 for the month.
Cheryl Kaufman blames a weakened economy. On top of the long lines of people waiting, she’s
finding fewer and fewer people at her restaurant during normal operating hours.
“I’m noticing that the restaurant numbers are down,” she said. “And I think it has a lot to do
with gas prices.” Matt Kaufman’s not too worried about it. He said people struggle at the end of
the month in good and bad times in the economy. And they serve food at the end of the month
when those living hand-to-mouth are waiting for the next paycheck.
“You’ve got a lot of people out there struggling,” he said. “They’ve got trouble getting through
the end of the month. There’s usually more month at the end of the money.”
But as more people come in, the Kaufmans have to make more food and find more seating.
Inside the restaurant they can only accommodate about 45 people, so in the summer they
have tables set outside to hold the crowd.
Kaufman said the restaurant operates to fund the free meals, but even that’s not
enough. The also rely on donations. The money may get tight, for the people coming in for
hot meals and for the Kaufman’s efforts. But it’s a labor of love, and a calling.
“The only reason we opened the restaurant was to pay for this,”
Matt Kaufman said. “This came up and we felt the Lord was leading us to this.”
And he’s confident that things will work out no matter how many people walk up
looking for a hot meal. “We’ll just take it as it comes,” he said. “Money is always an issue;
it takes a considerable chunk of change to run this operation.”
Merculief has the same attitude. She’s homeless, but she’s doing OK.
“I’m OK with it now,” she said. “As long as I can survive and my kids are healthy, I’m OK.”
WRA - Washington Restraunt Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 8, 2008
WRA Announces State Winners to Compete for National Philanthropy Award
OLYMPIA – The Washington Restaurant Association today announced four
The prestigious Restaurant Neighbor Award program is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
“These Restaurant Neighbor Award winners exemplify the generous and charitable spirit that has become a trademark of our industry,” said WRA President and CEO, Anthony Anton. “Knowing that our members understand and embrace the value of giving back to their communities is truly gratifying.”
The Restaurant Neighbor Award honors charitable contributions in four
categories: small business, mid-size business, national chain and Cornerstone
for the national award. One national winner in each category will be
announced at the
Amy’s On The Bay was awarded the Cornerstone Humanitarian designation because
In the national chain category, Spokane’s Clinkerdagger/Restaurants Unlimited,
A profile of the national and state winners’ community service efforts will be highlighted in a booklet, as well as on the National Restaurant Association’s Web site, www.restaurant.org/community.
For more information, contact the WRA at 800.225.7166.
The Washington Restaurant Association, in its 79th year, is the leading business ssociation for
the restaurant industry - the largest private employer in the state with a workforce of more
than 193,000 employees. In Washington, the more
Washington Restaurant Association
REVERIE HOME MENU DIRECTIONS REVIEWS PICTURES LINKS Contact Reverie BBQ