The importance of community cafes

Lifewise Merge Café; we charge as little as humanly possible, just $4. If you can afford to pay more, please pay it forward by adding a few dollars to help your neighbours enjoy a hot, delicious meal or cup of coffee.

If you think of a community like a large, extended family, then a community café is like your grandmother’s house. Here there’s always food on the table, a hot cuppa if you want it, and a warm hug if you need it. It’s where everyone gathers and Merge Café is our local community café!

We know how important it is to foster a community mentality (safer and happier people). But we also know how busy everyone’s schedules get. That is why Merge Café is open weekdays when you can pop in for breakfast before work, or lunch during your break. Grab a delicious, nutritional meal and a cup of hot coffee for just $4 and connect with members of our colourful community.

Bringing People Together

Merge Café is a community café that allows people to do good while filling their tum with goodness. It started as a soup kitchen in 1885 and served over 40,000 meals a year to people in Auckland who couldn’t afford food. But in 2010 it transformed into a café. Why? Well, over the years, we realised that the soup kitchen was maintaining rather than solving the issue of homelessness. A community café seemed to be the best way to feed people from all walks of life while encouraging a literal merging of them. Our goal is to challenge public perceptions around homelessness and encourage everyone to embrace choices, dignity and respect. Today, we’re creating a stronger and more loving community.

Community cafés, like Merge Café, are important because they offer a welcoming environment for anyone. Regardless of their social, economic or political backgrounds, everyone is welcome here. The community café allows people to engage with those they might not usually come across, sparking discussions and gaining a deeper understanding of each other and the community as a whole. It counters an ‘us and them’ culture, which unfortunately has become something of a norm. It demonstrates integration, recovery, growth and support.

Pay it Forward

At Merge Café, breakfast is from $2 and lunch from $4 – cheaper than a cup of coffee at your average café – and you can leave behind more dollars if you are able to. Any extra money given goes towards feeding those experiencing homelessness. This Pay it Forward system is about more than good karma. It’s about being an active member of our community and opening our minds and hearts. It’s about education and empathy, stimulating positive changes and instilling hope, and of course, some good kai.

You can pay it forward by leaving behind some coins, or you can buy a $25 meal voucher which can provide five hot meals for a hungry neighbour. We’re on 453 K’ Road and our doors are open from 7AM-2PM, so stop by for a chat or a sit-down meal! To find out more about Merge, you can read about our vision and values here.

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