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Fork Real Community Café’s — a new food-based nonprofit group in Rapid City — has an immediate goal of providing nutritious meals to people of all income levels across the region, while tossing in a dash of great conversation and camaraderie.

For now, Fork Real is a burgeoning meal preparation service not unlike Blue Apron — which also provides catering for meetings and events. Within the year, Fork Real Community Café officials hope to open a storefront — providing a sit-down dining experience for customers.

“I want Fork Real Café to be a dignified place where people can sit down and bring their family — a place where everyone in the community can come together over the dignity of food,” said Rhonda Pearcy of Rapid City, executive director of the Fork Real Café non-profit board. “Here, they’ll get nutritious food, meet good people, and have great conversation.”

Fork Real Café is a member of One World Everyone Eats Foundation — a network of more than 60 community cafes. Fork Real Café’s motto is, “Serve one another in love” (Galations 5:13).

Rhonda and her husband, David Pearcy — the Fork Real Café board secretary — started the cafe to provide nutritious meals regardless of a person’s income. The organization serves food from local farmers, with items changing daily and weekly depending on what’s fresh. The typical menu includes four items — a vegetable, meat, grain, and dessert. The suggested price for the whole meal is $10. Smaller plates will also be available.

“We serve diverse, well-rounded, and home style food, no junk food,” Rhonda Pearcy said. “Our foods are natural, not processed. We also have many gluten-free foods. There will always be an option for those who have allergies or restrictions.”

Customers will be allowed to pay the suggested amount (listed price); pay for someone else’s meal; pay what they can (a lower or higher amount); or pay by volunteering. For example, folks will have the option to do an hour’s worth of work, in the form of cleaning, dishes or other chores — to pay for their food.

Rhonda and David are renting kitchen space in the Creamery building to prepare food for families and events while they pursue fundraising efforts and search for a storefront in the growing East of Fifth business district in Rapid City.

“We want this space to bring people together from all economic sides,” said Rhonda, who has always had a passion for cooking. Her background includes being a teacher and a stay-at-home mother. When she was home raising her children, she watched the Food Network and experimented with new recipes; back then, she talked about opening a restaurant but never did. Most recently, she was kitchen manager for Cornerstone Rescue Mission.

Rhonda holds a masters of education degree focusing on neuroscience in community learning. Specifically, she studied how food pertained to education. “My mission is to bring back community dinners,” she said.

David retired from the Air Force in 2009. He works as an air traffic controller at the airport when he’s not busy making Fork Real Café deliveries or helping promote the organization.

Thus far, Fork Real Café has catered for Love Inc., Rapid City Christian School, and many family get-togethers. The organization has also hosted meal prep classes.

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“We donated cheesecakes to the Love Inc. dessert auction,” said Rhonda. “Now everyone wants a specialty cheesecake.” Fork Real Café’s signature cheesecakes include unusual flavors such as honey lavender, chocolate chipotle pepper, lemon basil, almond raspberry and maple bacon.

Jaclyn Lanae of Rapid City chose Fork Real Café as this year’s charitable organization for her annual Chocopalooza event in February.

“The Fork Real Community Cafe provides a beautiful opportunity for people to directly support those in need in our community,” said Lanae. “Simply by enjoying a delicious, nutritious meal served with the dignity and respect provided by traditional restaurants, patrons make it possible for those in need to do the same.”

Lanae said Fork Real Café was an ideal fit for Chocopalooza’s charitable organization this year.

“As guests of the event sampled their decadent desserts, the Fork Real Café team was able to familiarize the community with the mission of the organization. Indulging in truly delicious food and treats while supporting the community is precisely what both Chocopalooza and the Fork Real Cafe are all about,” she said.

The Fork Real Café Board of Directors oversees the planning, development and fundraising for the organization. In addition to Rhonda and David, the board includes: Mike Pszanka, board president, Bart Miller, board vice president, and Danielle Gorecki, board treasurer. Other board members include Mickie Pszanka, Katy Kinnan, Sarah Miler, Ann Bretlinger, and Josh Davis.

Visit www.forkrealcafe.org for additional information about the café, or to donate to the cause.

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