Come & Be Fed

Mission | January 4, 2016

The kitchen is warm on a chilly winter morning. A pasta dish is coming out of the oven, pots and pans are clanking, and there’s a lot of chopping going on.

Each person has an assinged job to do – setting the tables with napkins and silverware, washing dishes, setting up the salad bar. And at 11 a.m., the door opens on the west side of a 150-year-old building at Sixth and Vine streets in downtown Davenport.

Guests receive a hello and a smile as they make their way to the serving line of Café on Vine.

Every single one of the 365 days in a year, a free public meal is served here. People come for a hearty lunch, Monday-Saturday, or an early supper on Sundays.

No questions are ever asked – name, address, race, income level, circumstance – nothing.

“It’s one of the key aspects of who we are,” said Sister Ruth E. Westmoreland, the café’s coordinator. “We believe people should be able to just come and eat a meal.”


A meal site first opened its doors in 1999 in a former saloon at 6th and Vine streets. It closed in 2007 when the organization that operated it ran into financial trouble.

Café on Vine opened later that year, under the leadership of an entirely new organization. St. Paul was asked to help support the effort, and said yes. The café staff and volunteers haven’t looked back since.

The café serves approximately 4,000 meals a month. It is the only place in the Quad Cities that offers a free public meal every single day of the year, including holidays. It runs on a tight budget, buoyed by donations from individuals and organizations. In 2015, St. Paul gave $5,000.

All of the food prepared is donated. Much of the produce grown in the St. Paul community garden goes to the café, peeled and chopped and frozen for use throughout the year.

Staff and volunteers – including several St. Paul people – begin arriving about 8 a.m. to prepare the day’s meal. The dining room is readied, its wooden tables and big windows offering the ambience befitting the café name. The kitchen manager determines what will be for lunch based on the donations on hand.

Meals include a main dish, two sides, a salad bar, dessert, and a beverage, such as milk and sweet tea.

The coffee is always on.

The guests, Sister Ruth E. said, include people staying at the Humility of Mary shelter a block away, as well as the King’s Harvest shelter. Others live in the neighborhood, work downtown in temporary jobs such as construction, or are sleeping under bridges. Some come for a few days and are never seen again; some are cherished regulars.

The café does have a few very important rules, she said. Guests are expected to be respectful, and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The staff and volunteers at the café know that the people who come to eat are people who may be experiencing mental illness, chemical dependency, or abuse.

“My religious community (Sister Ruth E. is a member of the Franciscan order in Clinton, Iowa) has a mission of nonviolence and peacemaking,” she said. “We are called to work with the poor and the marginalized.”


Jim and Linda Hoepner are two of the volunteers at Café on Vine. Jim served on the board for several years as a St. Paul representative (a position now held by Manny Fritz). The Hoepners greet, clean tables, reset tables, carry trays, sweep, mop, serve, peel, and chop. “It’s darn hard work. Sometimes when I come home, my feet really hurt,” Linda said with a smile.

And the pay? “We’re so fortunate to be able to help someone else out a little bit,” said Jim, who is impressed with the café’s resourcefulness and creativity. “Nothing goes to waste.”

On Mondays, Linda is joined by fellow St. Paul member Barb Buckles (see cover photo). Barb started volunteering there in the fall of 2009, shortly after the death of her husband, Ken. “He passed away in August,” she said while sitting in the café, shortly before opening time. “I needed something to keep me busy. I called here in September, and they said they needed help on Mondays.”

The staff and volunteers at the café have become dear friends. Greeting is one of Barb’s favorite jobs – and she delights when a guest sees her around town and strikes up a conversation.

“I sometimes feel guilty that it gives me such a good feeling to be here,” she said. She only misses a Monday if she is out of town. “The guests are so grateful.”

One comment on “Come & Be Fed”

  • KJ Rebarcak

    January 21, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    So glad whenever I see these folks get publicity. Cafe On Vine is an amazing place, and Sister Ruth E. is truly an angel. It’s worth your time to visit, whether you are a volunteer or a donor. Even if you take five minutes to personally deliver some food, you’ll feel the caring and warmth radiating strongly from the place and the people in it. Proof that God is indeed with us. 🙂

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”