Harmony Café is hosting fourth annual free Toast-Giving

Thanksgiving dinner will be held on Nov. 22

Shana Braff
Posted 11/10/22

Harmony Café and Toast Coffeehouse of Patchogue are cohosting their fourth annual free Toast-Giving Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 22.

In the spirit of giving, guests at the event will be …

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Harmony Café is hosting fourth annual free Toast-Giving

Thanksgiving dinner will be held on Nov. 22


Harmony Café and Toast Coffeehouse of Patchogue are cohosting their fourth annual free Toast-Giving Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 22.

In the spirit of giving, guests at the event will be served a complimentary Thanksgiving restaurant meal, including a delicious traditional holiday feast at the cozy Toast Coffeehouse, located at 46 E. Main Street in Patchogue, from 6 to 9 p.m. The festive ambiance will include live music by John Sparling and Anthony Pravata of the Om-en Duet. While guests are encouraged to stay and enjoy the dining experience, there are dine-in or pick-up options available.

Those interested in attending are requested to RSVP at harmonycafeli.org or call 631-730-8775. However, no one will be turned away at the door.

Rosemarie Mccarthy is the founder and president of the Harmony Café, and their website states: “Our mission is to empower our guests by providing wellness, education, and access to affordable nutritious foods, in a socially engaging environment that creates a healthy life.” It goes on to list some startling statistics about the lack of access to affordable healthy food. It states that there are alarmingly more than 38 million Americans (11.8 percent) living in households that struggle against food insecurity or lack access to an affordable and nutritious diet. This is a 9 percent increase since 2019, amid the backdrop of widespread financial hardship in the aftermath of the worst of the pandemic and other economic factors.

In addition, the site informs that according to a report conducted by a panel of national nutrition experts, a dearth of knowledge on nutrition can have a deleterious effect on long-term health. It even posits that poor nutrition is the leading cause of illness in the United States. Furthermore, social support groups can have a positive impact on attitudes and behaviors. A study from Brigham Young University found that people with social relationships live a whopping 50 percent longer than those who are more socially isolated.

Mccarthy decided to combine the salubrious benefits of healthy, nutritious food with a supportive community for her community café model. She was initially inspired by rocker Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen, which currently has three locations that all have a priceless menu where a professionally trained chef prepares the restaurants’ three-course meals, and customers have the choice to donate or not, with the option of eating for free always available. For those who want to give back, community members can also donate their time to the restaurant.

While Mccarthy doesn’t currently have her own donation-based restaurant yet, that is the goal. For now, she hosts events at places such as Toast and has an office location at 20 Medford Avenue, Suite 108 in Patchogue, where she hosts events such as 12-week wellness programs, which are free and offer nutritional education, access to healthy food, food demos, and more in the plant-based program. She also hosts a Ladies Spiritual Support Circle, which is donation based, and offers a sacred space for women on a spiritual path of health and wellness.

“There are already 120 people registered,” said Mccarthy of the upcoming dinner. She expects there to be about 400 people in attendance this Thanksgiving, which is 100 more than last year due to the economic downturn, which has affected so many in the community. “There will be live music to make it a nice dining experience. Everyone volunteers their time. Come sit down and have a nice meal, and we’ll also be serving drinks and desserts. Have a nice meal. Listen to music with friends and family and you don’t have to worry if you can afford the meal,” said Mccarthy, whose favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. “I love other holidays, but there is something so special about it. You don’t have to worry about gifts.”

This event isn’t just for the homeless. Mccarthy asserts that many individuals and families in the area are needing extra assistance this year.

“A lot of people were getting more help last year with the stimulus and unemployment,” she said, adding that people who never needed assistance before are suddenly finding themselves having financial hardships this holiday season due to a variety of societal issues and economic factors. “People across the whole middle class have been cut down on hours, there’s inflation. It’s a whole different situation.”

While guests are encouraged to nourish not only their bodies but their spirits with good food and good company at this event, it’s understood that due to illness, caring for loved ones, or other personal issues that takeout may be the best option for some people who may even want to save some of the food for the actual Thanksgiving holiday, which will be on Nov. 24. There will be traditional Thanksgiving fare such as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and baked ziti for a vegetarian option.

Visit harmonycafeli.org to make reservations for the Toast-Giving Thanksgiving dinner, or to find out about sponsorship opportunities for this event, to help sponsor a family in need with their holiday wish list, or to inquire about any of the other classes and workshops, events, and sponsorship opportunities available. 


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