Lentil’s survival depends on patrons’ generosity. Photo: Adrian Martinez
BY ADRIAN MARTINEZ @amartinez0010
An inner west charitable restaurant has found a unique and unusual way to try to keep itself afloat, hosting community garage sales every month.
Lentil As Anything, a popular vegan restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, has been open since April 2014 and welcomes people from all walks of life.
Due to the lack of contributions by customers over the winter period to the organisation’s donation box, the restaurant is in debt and struggling to pay its bills.
Floor manager Georgia Munroe has been at Lentil As Anything since it opened. The restaurant’s philosophy is based on the idea that food connects people, she said. “We believe your financial situation shouldn’t affect your ability to have a healthy meal. Everyone is welcome, whether you’re homeless, through to the Queen, it’s an inclusive space.”
Community co-ordinator and former yoga teacher Nicole Khoury has been organising the garage sales for a few months.
“We did a clean out of our back rooms and there’s a lot of things that we found that were quite nice, and we knew that somebody would want these or appreciate them,” said Nicole.
Nicole and her colleagues then started to bring in items from home such as clothes, electronics, kitchen supplies and books to donate to the garage sale.
The garage sales operate in the same way as the restaurant does, with a ‘pay what you can afford’ mentality. Customers contribute whatever they can afford to the donation box for the items they have taken.
Nicole has also been using social media to reach out to the community and spread the word of the #keeplentilsalivecampaign.
The garage sales have gained popularity each month, and are now held on the first Sunday of every month. The money raised goes directly back into the running of the operation costs.
“We’re all about inclusion here in the sense that everyone deserves a nutritious meal and everybody deserves to get something that they need,” Nicole said.