ROCHELLE – Carolyn and Grant Brown are not celebrities, but they certainly drew the attention of a big one because of their years of generosity feeding the hungry.
As owners of The Kitchen Table in Rochelle, a community cafe that serves meals on a pay-what-you-can basis, the Browns have made a huge difference in helping to give a good meal to those who need it the most.
Last week, it was TV celebrity Mike Rowe’s turn to make a difference as he came to Rochelle and brought his film crew with him. The host of the show “Dirty Jobs” and “Somebody Has To Do It” has a new show called “Returning the Favor” and he wanted to feature the Browns for an episode.
Rowe travels the country in search of remarkable people making a difference in their communities. “Returning the Favor” gives back to those who pay it forward with humor, heart and surprise. Because one good turn deserves another.
Not only did Rowe bring his film crew to shoot a TV show, he pitched in both by helping work at The Kitchen Table, and by donating $50,000 towards an expansion project that will build a new dining hall at the community cafe, located at 7034 Klondike Road in Rochelle.
Rowe spent most of the day filming and talking with the Browns, volunteers at the cafe and others to hear the stories surrounding the business and how it got started. He is expected to return in July when construction is finished on the new dining hall. Then, the TV episode will air on Facebook hopefully shortly after the project is finished.
The Kitchen Table is the realization of a dream the Browns had after years of feeding needy people in their home in Ashton. They saw the need and how it was growing, so they decided to invest $80,000 of their money, along with other donations they collected to build The Kitchen Table. It opened in June 2016.
The way the business works is those that have some money pay for those that do not. The meals are on a pay-what-you-can basis and if the diners have no money, they can give back by donating their time and talents to help the cause.
Construction on the new dining hall is anticipated to start this spring and will significantly increase seating and the amount of people that can be served at the community cafe.