EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Mustard Seed Cafe is a nonprofit organization handing out free home-cooked meals to anyone who needs it.
The organization’s mission “to feed hungry people and care for their hearts,” as stated by Executive Director Carmen Estrada, plays a central role in their efforts to welcome everyone and anyone to their dining room.
“We treat them with dignity and grace,” said Estrada about her patrons.
The meals are prepared and cooked by volunteers who spend hours making 250 portions ready to be served each day.
Estrada said that since January, they have served more than 5,500 meals.
But the experience of Mustard Seed Cafe doesn’t stop with food — the organization takes pride in making the space feel like home.
“They are surprised because this is the place where you can sit, you can feel the love and you can feel like home here. The smell in the kitchen is amazing every day,” said Estrada, describing the cozy seating area enhanced with the spirit of the volunteers.
“We cannot do this without the Lord and the amazing volunteer body that we have here,” Estrada said, adding how the majority of the produce they use comes from donations.
Mustard Seed Cafe’s space is a part of the Westside Community Church, which collaborates with the organization in many programs.
Just across the parking lot of the cafe, 5,300-square-feet of land stretch out into a garden, which is also run by the volunteers.
Kale, onions, lettuce, carrots and radishes are just some of the produce on the list that Mustard Seed Cafe grows and then cooks for their patrons.
“The need is great, we need to break the stereotype that homeless people and hungry people are in a certain place in the community. No, you just have to check your neighbor and see if they’re OK,” Estrada said.
One volunteer, Richard Murtland, said that when he saw the need of people in his neighborhood, all he wanted to do is help. Now, four years later, he spends one day a week of his retirement in the kitchen preparing food.
“See who’s your neighbor and be ready to serve them. We are, here at Mustard Seed Cafe. We need you,” said Estrada.
She invites everyone in need of a meal or just good company to get lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays to Fridays at their location on 201 E. Sunset Rd.