Making A Difference: 5 years in Danville cafe still paying it forward

Posted at 7:38 AM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 12:49:21-05

DANVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Five years in, Grace Cafe in Danville is going stronger than ever. Their pay-what-you-can restaurant was the first in the state when it opened, and they have just been awarded the 2020 Vision Award for Outstanding Community Project by Bluegrass Tomorrow.

"People rely on us daily to eat and also just to make connections, build relationships, have a place to be, " said founder, Rochelle Bayless.

Their concept is just the same since they first opened their doors: combating food insecurity. They still have no prices on their menu, just suggested donations. If you have it, pay it. If you've only got part of it, that's okay too. If you can't afford a meal at all, they will feed you for free in exchange for one hour of volunteer time.

Last year alone, Grace Cafe served over 17,000 meals, nearly $37,000 were paid forward and over 3,700 volunteer hours were worked. Proving it takes everyone on every level to achieve their goal.

Bayless said, "Everybody from the haves to have-nots, people who pay it forward, people who volunteer for a meal to help us run the cafe. It's this really wonderful circle of participation."

Bayless said they have learned a ton in the past five years and have been lucky to have a solid team dedicated to their mission. Now with the help of their community they hope the next five are even better.

"It's really wonderful just to see just everybody coming around one table, one mission, one purpose to work together, " Bayless said.

Over half of their budget comes from donations. To help out or to learn more visit: