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June 11, 2017 09:59 PM

Food From The Heart

Rapid City, SD

Many people across KELOLAND are unable to afford three meals a day or may go without food each day. That's why one woman in Rapid City, with a dream of opening a café, is hoping to help those without enough to eat.

Driving down Main Street in Rapid City you've probably passed the Creamery Building hundreds of times. What you may not know is that downstairs, there is progress being made to fulfill Rhonda Pearcy's dream of opening the doors of the Fork Real Café.

"That 'pay what you can' café, where anyone can come in and pay what they can to have really good food," Rhonda Pearcy, Executive Director said.

Though it's still in the works right now, Pearcy hopes to soon have a café where customers can come in and pay it forward, pay what you can, or pay by volunteering for their meals.

"There's nothing in South Dakota that we know of and we just really wanted to bring real food back to the table without dependency on money," Pearcy said.

Though Pearcy is the main force behind this dream- she isn't on her own. There are board members helping to guide the way. Only before Fork Real can open its doors to customers, work must first be completed in three phases.

"The Phase 1 was just the 'dream it out' and what would it look like," Pearcy said. "Right now we're in Phase 2. Phase 2 is walking through that, promotion, letting people know what our mission is, what our vision is that we want to reach people, all people to be able to eat healthy."

By promoting the food, Fork Real is able to do catering, meal preparation, making cheesecakes and other types of fundraising to get the word out.

"It's grown, because it started with just catering, people wanted meals and we wanted to share what the meals would be like," Pearcy said.

Once Phase 2 is complete, Phase 3 will put this food in front of you.

"We get to Phase 3 and open up the doors," Pearcy said.

Fork Real Café is part of the One World Everyone Eats Foundation, which is a network of more than 60 cafes with the same mission to provide meals for those who may be unable to pay.

"Opportunity for South Dakota to be part as well, to say hey we really care about people, this is a great place to live, in south Dakota, in Rapid City," Pearcy said.

Mickie Pszanka is one of the board members for Fork Real Café and spends her time helping Pearcy with the catering whenever needed. 

"My husband and I, we've been volunteering for a long times, years at different places to help feed people in South Dakota and Rapid City, and I have a passion for it and feel everybody deserves to eat no matter who they are and if they can afford it or not," Pszanka said.

The message behind the café is what inspired her get involved.

"The feeling that you get to be able to pay it forward to somebody, it's incredible. And I think that's what we need more of in this world, we need more people doing things for other people," Pszanka said.

When the café opens up it will serve locally grown, healthy foods for its customers.

"She's not going to have Cokes and sodas and things like that. It's going to be just healthy food," Pszanka said.

Not only is Fork Real Cafe's mission to helping others with nutritious foods, it's also about family.

"Everybody loves to eat and everyone loves to gather over food and so food is really just the excuse for community," Pearcy said.

As for when this restaurant will open its doors in Rapid City…

"If it was up to me it would be tomorrow, but I would say maybe within the next year we'll be in that spot," Pearcy said.

To find out how you can volunteer and all of the different foods and meals that are available now to order, we've provided a link to the website.

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