At the heart of every great Circles USA gathering, you’ll find members breaking bread together. CUSA communities share food to celebrate our accomplishments, remind one another of life’s simplest pleasures, and renew our strength for the ongoing challenge of ending poverty.
The community surrounding St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando, FL—the site of our 2023 Leadership Conference—boasts a bevy of restaurants, food trucks, and caterers serving up delicious Florida cuisine with soulful twists.
Lynette Fields, Director of Poverty Solutions Group (PSG), the lead organization for Circles Central Florida, shared: “Both PSG and St. Luke’s have a commitment to support locally owned businesses representing the diversity of our region. All of the food vendors for the conference have a great story to tell, and all have a direct connection to Circles or embody our community transformation work.”
Here’s a sneak peek of the fabulous food service providers who each have a special connection with Circles. We’re thrilled to support such high integrity, local vendors throughout our 2023 Leadership Conference!
Welcome Reception: Pammie’s Sammies
Pam Thomas, Owner
“Feed the soul, craft with love, serve from the heart!” Pammie’s Sammies, located in historic downtown Winter Garden, offers unexpected flavors in a familiar, friendly, and GROOVY shop where everyone feels like family. According to www.pammiessammies.com, “Our goal is to create unique experiences so every time you visit, you’ll find something new and different.”
Pammie’s Sammies is a go-to favorite for Circles Special Events. “Pam has even closed early and let our Circles West Orange group use the restaurant for our Weekly Meeting when our regular spot is not available,” one staffer reports. “Additionally, we are so very excited to claim Pammie’s Sammies as an Employer Partner since two Circle Leaders have been brought on her staff team this year.”
Tuesday Lunch: Natez Catering Company
Nate Monroe, Owner
Natez Catering Company and Poverty Solutions Group both had their start in the community of East Winter Garden, where Nate Monroe established Natez Catering Company in 2015. What started out as a side job quickly grew into something much larger: one of Orlando’s most renowned caterers. At the time of establishment, Nate was still working as Culinary Buyer for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. However, Natez Catering Company began to grow so rapidly, it enabled Nate to retire after 30 years at SeaWorld so he could go full time with his own company. Recently, he took his business a step higher by purchasing a food truck: Natez Blazing BBQ and More.
Lynette recalled, “Shortly after Natez Catering launched beyond a weekend gig, they were regularly in the rotation of Circles West Orange weekly meals. When possible, they even donated meals to Circles. It was part of our commitment to support local Black-owned businesses along with getting individuals and organizations to donate meals. Eventually, they became one of St. Luke’s approved caterers.”
Tuesday Weekly Meeting: Steve Smith and Luky Nova
Steve Smith and Luky Nova, Owners
Steve and Luky, both former Circles Allies and food service professionals, share their cooking skills in many ways to serve the community through St. Luke’s and Circles.
“My wife and I have been very active in many charitable facets of St Luke’s,” said Steve, “including Coalition for the Homeless, Habitat for Humanity, as well as various mission trips. Finding Circles was extremely rewarding. The most obvious reward was seeing positive impacts to the community almost weekly. Being involved with gleaning the farm fields through Society of St. Andrew led us to help deliver various foods to a wide variety of organizations in need. Cooking over 800 meals a week during Covid was exceptionally impactful. We are overly blessed to have been given all these wonderful opportunities to serve alongside so many awesome organizations.”
Wednesday and Thursday Lunch: House Blend Cafe
Jonathan Daigle, Manager
House Blend Cafe has a mission to serve the community at the heart of what they do, so it’s no surprise that this cozy cafe has been a popular meeting place for Poverty Solutions Group.
According to their website, “House Blend Cafe was created to connect with people and see community happen in our neighborhood. We have committed 100% of our net profits to be donated to world change projects. As opposed to simply writing a check and moving on, we engage our community to meet needs and create true relational connection. Our non-profit – Do Good Farm – exists to end world hunger and malnutrition through sustainable farming methods. It is just one of the ways we utilize House Blend Cafe to engage the finances and community needed to change the world!”