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Pay it forward

Community Served Here

At Groundswell Cafe, we strive to provide a place where everyone has access to fresh, healthy food, regardless of their ability to pay.

Our menu features healthy and delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, and omelets with as much of the food as possible supplied by what we grow less than a mile away at the Cultivate Hope Urban Farm and in our on-site hydroponic garden. The rest of the food is sourced from local and organic suppliers. We also serve a selection of fair-trade coffee and teas, and have a delicious smoothie menu with natural ingredients.  At the register, guests can round up their bill or make a donation to help pay for a meal for someone who can’t afford it. Those who can’t afford to pay can order and enjoy our meals at no cost.

The Cafe connects people socially, reduces food insecurity, and provides a healthy eating opportunity for everyone.


Our concept is to provide a space in Cedar Rapids where people come together and eat healthy food. It’s an ancient tradition that goes back to the earliest people. If a person had the ability to gather food, they would bring it back to share with the entire village. The way we “gather” food and live in “villages” has changed, but sharing for the good of the community is still important, and Groundswell Cafe is helping to facilitate sharing in today’s modern world. So, if you can give extra, please do.

If you need help paying for your meal, we’ve got you covered, no questions asked. Simply grab a Free Meal Card near the Cafe entrance or at the register and hand it to the cashier when you order.

Local and Organic Food

Part of our mission is to support local and organic vendors. We are proud to serve products from Matthew 25’s Cultivate Hope Urban Farm, Out of the Blue Cheesecake Company, a.k.a. The Cheesecake Lady, Garden Oasis Farm, Grimm Family Farm, Great Harvest Bread Company, New Pioneer Co-op, Rishi Tea, Equal Exchange Coffee, and UNFI.

Events – Bringing community together

Groundswell is also a place where people come together as a community to meet, share, celebrate, reflect, and more. Various spaces are available to rent for graduation, retirement or birthday parties, baby or bridal showers, meetings, and many other types of events.

How You Can Help

Helping others is as simple as eating at Groundswell Cafe. Every meal purchased helps keep the cafe running, and paying it forward at the register provides directly for others to receive a meal for free.

If you’d like to make a bigger impact, encourage your business, church, or community organization to sponsor the Cafe through our Lunch for Linn program. A $1,500 sponsorship will help support the Cafe in providing free meals for a week. Your organization’s name and logo will appear on a sign in the Cafe for the entire week as well as on our website and Facebook page. Contact us for more information.

Looking to help in a more hands-on way? Volunteer solo or with a group. Groundswell Cafe is successful in large part because of great volunteers that help with baking, serving food, hospitality, busing tables, washing dishes and more. If you are interested in volunteering, learn more here or contact us.

Do you have a gift-giving holiday coming up? Consider a Groundswell Cafe Gift Card! Purchase an eGift Card or stop by the Cafe for a physical Gift Card between 7 am-2 pm, Monday-Saturday, at 201 Third Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids.

Finally, help us spread the word! The best reviews come from people you trust, so tell your friends and family about our food and our mission. Review us on Yelp, Google, or Facebook to let us and others know about your experience at Groundswell Cafe.

Looking for other ways to support Matthew 25? Check out how to Get Involved!

Give the Gift of Groundswell

Purchase a Groundswell Gift Card for friends, family members, coworkers, or whomever! Click here to purchase online, or stop by the Cafe for a physical card between 7 am-2 pm, Monday-Saturday, located at 201 Third Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids.

Catering Available!

Groundswell can be part of your event or gathering with an option for local catering. For groups of 12 or more, we offer lunch catering for pickup, deliver, or in our event space. Click here to learn more