A beloved Hamilton café, community space, and non-profit charity remains temporarily closed due to what they describe as ‘challenges they’re facing as an organization.’
541 Eatery & Exchange has become an essential pillar of the Barton Village community: a café serving up delicious breakfast, lunch, coffee, espresso, and baked goods while also doing work to feed low-income folks and families in the community.
They’re notable for their pay-it-forward button system, where visitors who purchase some food can also purchase a few buttons to add to a communal jar. Those buttons can be redeemed for a meal by those experiencing food insecurity.
However, the eatery has been temporarily closed since July 18th, citing the impacts of multiple different issues on the organization simultaneously.
“The staff and community at 541 Eatery & Exchange have experienced major changes in the past year — we opened for dine-in, the community saw more and more folks deprived of housing, staff responded to a steady stream of medical emergencies, we experienced significant turnover due to burnout, and more recently have had an increase in mental health crises in our community,” wrote 541 in a post on social media.
“For an organization that started as a restaurant with a pay-it-forward button system, it’s safe to say we’re not resourced properly to offer all the support that our staff and community need and we’re bearing witness to the harm this is causing.”
The closure was first meant to end by July 29th; however, this past week, 541 made the difficult decision to extend the closure until further notice. A reopening date has not yet been provided.
“We are committed to the long-term sustainability of the organization and are asking for your patience and support as we assess the next steps that are required for us to reopen safely.”
See more here.
Lead image courtesy of Google Maps