Can We Apply The “Karma Kitchen” Approach to Eldercare?

Several years ago I learned about a wonderful concept for a restaurant, the Karma Kitchen.  “Imagine a restaurant where there are no prices on the menu and where the check reads $0.00 with only this footnote: “Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those dine after you.” You can learn more here

I was so impressed with the concept I was eager to see it replicated in my community or the DC area.  After contacting the organizers I learned that plans was underway, so I volunteered to help on out on the opening day in DC over two years ago.  I just learned that the Karma Kitchen DC will be going on hiatus due to the restaurant changing management.  Lets hope they find a home soon, if you have connections contact [email protected]

Karma Kitchen is proof that with the right partners at the “table” we can create a sustainable pay it forward system.  There are plenty of skeptics, but all you need to do is visit one of these to see how it attracts the right kind of people in a positive environment.  When I talk about it people always assume that there will be folks lined up who are not paying or taking advantage of the system.  If there is, I feel that Karma Kitchen attracts many more that would gladly lend a hand or spend twice as much to help those who can’t or won’t pay.

A few times I have set off a chain of this activity by paying for the persons coffee behind me in line at Starbucks, I urge you to try it sometime — it’s a great way to start you day off right if you are lucky the line follows your lead!  People really do want to help each other, they just need an easy, focused system with no strings attached.

Can this approach be applied to other services in eldercare? Homecare or transportation services come to mind.  I feel a key element to success is having a chance to meet the person you are paying it forward to. What do you think?



1 Comment

  • Amanda Perez

    not sure how closely this fits the theme, but I have a fantasy where 40 and 50-somethings design and build a co-operative senior communities for themselves (for when they are in their 70s-80ss=90s): they don’t need it yet, so people who do need it now can take advantage of it. Then when they need it, it is there. I realize I am not explaining it well (it’s been a long day).
    Let me give a ‘frinstance': I and several like-minded people, all in our peak earning years, know we want to spend our final years in (a farm in the country/a boutique hotel in a city/on a boat cruising the carribean): we invest in building our dream some 20 years before we need it: we find those who who share our vision and need now, and move them in, so when the time comes, it is there for us… does this make any sense?

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