Local Restaurant Uses Profits to Help Those in Need Local Restaurant Uses Profits to Help Those in Need

LAKIN: Have you ever heard of a restaurant that donates 100-percent of its profits to charity? The Hope Café does just that. With five locations in Central New York, the restaurant offers a fusion of Peruvian, Italian and American food along with beverages like coffee and tea. Matthew Cullipher is the founder of the Hope Café and the C-E-O of the charitable organization, The People Project. He says he thought he knew what poverty looked like until a trip to Peru in 1999 showed him just how difficult life could really be.

CULLIPHER: You get hit with a totally different reality and so when I came back I vowed that I would do what I could to help and 25 years later, uh, that’s what my life is dedicated to.

LAKIN: Cullipher officially founded The People Project in 2005 and since then, the organization has expanded their charitable efforts to 13 different countries. The profits from the Hope Café, which opened its first location in 20-17, have been used by The People Project to do things like build and improve schools and donate food. Hope Café is one of over 40 local restaurants participating in Downtown Syracuse Dining Weeks which starts this Friday and runs through March fourteenth. Patrons of these restaurants will be able to get special deals when they purchase food and drinks. Cullipher hopes the cafe’s participation in the Dining Weeks event will create more business but says the community has supported the restaurant’s mission locally since the beginning.

CULLIPHER: What’s been amazing is even though people can’t donate a ton of money, the amount of things that people donate to families in need. We’ve done, I don’t know how many baby showers we’ve put on for single mothers, and they leave with more than you’d get at a
typical baby shower.

LAKIN: Hope Café is an award-winning restaurant that gives patrons the opportunity to dine with a purpose. Shayna Lakin, N-C-C News.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Hope Café  is one of the many local restaurants that will be participating in Downtown Syracuse Dining Weeks starting this Friday. The restaurant offers a unique fusion of Peruvian, Italian, and American food and five locations throughout Central New York. What makes the restaurant more unique is its business model. Hope Café donates 100% of its profits to fighting poverty and hunger around the world.

Matthew Cullipher is the founder of Hope Café and the CEO of the nonprofit organization, The People Project. He says The People Project started in 2005 but in 2017, he opened the first Hope Café location to help fund the charity work.

“Our only goal was to support one school in Peru that we were building and pay the staff and give the kids food and whatnot and eventually has turned into a 13 country mission,” Cullipher said.

After spending time donating money, food and labor to impoverished areas of countries like Peru and Kenya, Cullipher realized that his own local community also needed help. The profits from Hope Café have provided many Central New Yorkers with the money, resources and opportunities they needed to improve their lives.

“It’s a pretty humbling experience, honestly, to be able to actually impact people in a way that they’ll never forget as long as they live,” Cullipher said.

Cullipher is excited that Hope Café was asked to participate in Downtown Syracuse Dining Weeks this year. The event will run from March 1 through March 14 and patrons of the participating restaurants will be able to get special deals when they purchase food or drinks.

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