At Merge Cafe, our goal is to create a space where anyone and everyone is welcome. A place where people from all walks of life can come together and enjoy a meal in an environment that embraces choice, dignity and respect.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the dedication of our skilled staff and volunteers. From experienced chefs and baristas to volunteer support and serving staff, these are the true heroes of Merge Café, providing customers with delicious food every day and connecting with people as they walk through the door.
Here are just some of the friendly faces guests can expect to see at our upcoming fundraiser, Merge & Dine:
John started volunteering with Lifewise long before Merge became a café when it was still a bustling soup kitchen feeding 40,000 homeless people each year. He attributes his long-term service to the great ‘vibes and atmosphere’ these spaces offer, and the people he meets. “I’m always interacting with people”, he says, “and I love that”.
Te Huia, Volunteer
Te Huia has been volunteering at Merge Cafe for almost 5 years, after experiencing first-hand what it is like to be homeless. “Lifewise fought for me to get a home. That’s why I volunteer — to give back to Lifewise and to help people”, she says.
Manu, Cafe Manager
Manu is the first person you will see as you come through the door. He is known for his incredible coffee making skills (if you haven’t tried his flat whites, you’re missing out!), big heart, and passion for breaking down barriers to bring people together. His favourite part of his job is “seeing people mix together”, and making sure Merge offers “a safe and non-judgemental place” where he can “talk to people and listen to their stories”. “It’s small steps each day”, he says.
Umender is our extremely talented chef, who describes his work as ‘fulfilling’ and a meaningful way to ‘connect’ with those in need. While most of his day is spent working his magic in the kitchen, he still makes time to head out into the dining area and engage with customers as often as possible.
These and other incredible heroes will be helping to prepare and serve meals alongside AUT Hospitality services on the night, so don’t be shy to go up and say hello!
Merge and Dine will be an unforgettable dining experience for you and the funds raised will ensure a sustainable future for Merge Café. Please join us on 12 July and celebrate the amazing work our Merge team do for our community each day.