Local business owner gives back with community dinner

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 11:11 PM EST
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NEW ELLENTON, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Atomic City Café in New Ellenton held a Thanksgiving feast that went on all evening.

We were there for the food and fellowship.

The Owner Daphne Simpkins says growing up, she didn’t have much, but watching her family continue to give to others inspired her at a young age.

When she took ownership of the café, she set out to impact her community in an even bigger way.

“We didn’t really have much, and I know I can’t save the whole world, you know, it’s one person at a time with me, but if I can help anybody, it’s worthwhile to me,” she said.

Simpkins set out to do that for the community of New Ellenton and more.

“It started out as you know, the coat drive. And then we ended up I said, you know what, let’s just do a free Thanksgiving meal,” she said.

Days before, Simpkins and her crew spent countless hours in the kitchen preparing a warm meal for all who need one.

“Tuesday, we did all the desserts. Wednesday, which was yesterday, we did many collard greens, so much macaroni and cheese, yams, green bean casserole, and dressing with and without the meat... mashed potatoes. This morning I got here at six o’clock. I fried five turkeys,” she said.

This meal served hot at no cost makes a difference in the life of people like Joe Bush.

“I looked at the fact that you know, some people don’t have places where they can afford a meal. And for some reason, I think God spoke to Daphne’s heart,” he said.

Bush says his family is everywhere, and he had planned to spend Thanksgiving alone until she gave him a call.

“My family didn’t cook today. When Daphne invited me to come today, it was an honor,” said Bush.

Her servant’s heart goes beyond cooking free meals.

“I get to meet a lot of new people. And like I said, I help them out a lot. You know, we have clothes and coats. When it starts to die down like completely, almost at a halt, we will pack everything up, and I will go straight down to the retirement home on 278 and give everything to them,” said Simpkins.

To her, Thanksgiving is about blessing others.

“It makes me feel so good to know that nobody is going to be hungry. You can come up, and you can be a part of a family even if you don’t have a family. When you come through the door, we are going to treat you as such,” she said.

Seventy-five people came in 2021. This year, she served more than 100 plates in the first three hours.