Tears, Fears and Sierra Leone Soup at New Jersey’s Refugee Cafe

The following is an excerpt from WNYC originally published January 30, 2017.


“The inviting aroma of paneer tikka masala might be one reason why Global Grace Cafe is bustling for lunch on Monday afternoon.

But the other reasons are in the kitchen, where refugees, asylees and asylum seekers from across the globe cook every meal at this cafe — food from India on Monday, Syria on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jamaica on Thursday and Nigeria on Friday.

“In addition, we have Sierra Leone soups every day of the week,” said Seth Kaper-Dale, pastor of the Reformed Church of Highland Park, which runs the cafe.

And business is good: Since President Donald Trump was inaugurated, about twice as many people have been lunching at the restaurant. Call it a culinary response from this community near Rutgers University, a way of pushing back against Trump’s flurry of anti-immigration declarations.

Kaper-Dale founded an affiliated nonprofit, Interfaith-RISE, that resettles asylees and refugees — eight so far in 2017 alone. Last week he was preparing to welcome a Syrian family and two single mothers with their children from war-torn Congo, when Trump temporarily halted all such immigration. Their donated beds are sitting stacked, unused, at the church.”

Read more at WNYC.

Tears, Fears and Sierra Leone Soup at New Jersey’s Refugee Cafe