As a member of the Pleasant Street Community Garden and the Stone Soup Café food committee, Canter has helped source Café ingredients locally for the pay-what-you-can community café. He also regularly donates Kombucha from Katalyst to the Café and volunteers to help prepare food in the kitchen. "Jeff's generous spirit and business skills have played an important role in helping the Stone Soup Café thrive as an organization," says Executive Director Ari Pliskin. Bringing with him many years of experience managing accounts for Katalyst, Canter set up financial accounting and controls for the Café as its volunteer Treasurer.
"Katalyst and Stone Soup operate on different models," says Canter "but they both combine food with a social and environmental mission." After the Café was covered by the Recorder last November, Canter explains, pay-what-you-can contributions quadrupled. About 10% of Stone Soup's income has come from guests dining at the Café and these contributions cover the additional money the Café spends on ingredients, allowing the Café to serve it's homeless and low-income guests a quality of food that wouldn't be available if the Café depended purely on donations. The remainder of the Café's income has come from charitable donations from individuals and foundations and the Café would not be possible without a team of talented volunteers, including a handful of kitchen leaders with professional kitchen experience, most notably Chef Kirsten Levitt.
"Operating on a pay-what-you-can basis serves two functions," says Pliskin. "First, it allows us to bring people together across socio-economic boundaries so that people in need of hunger relief don't need to be separated from the rest of society. Second, the more people come in and pay, the more people we can feed who can't pay. This additional revenue stream means we aren't 100% dependent on donations."
According to Artisan General Manager and CEO Will Savitri, “I’ve seen a big shift regarding employees and work, in their attitude about the business. People are more invested as owners. And as businesses are getting more environmentally and socially responsible, worker ownership can help retain the values of a business and make it a little more difficult for a large corporate entity to come in and buy out the company. That protects the value systems they’re founded on.”~The Recorder, Feb 27