Come in for a meal and leave with a nourished heart, soul, and body. Free of charge.
Mustard Seed Café is a nonprofit, donation-based café. We want to tell and demonstrate the love of Jesus to every single person who comes through our doors! We serve delicious, nutritious food with an accompanying commitment to recognize the dignity of each guest and treat them with respect.
There are no set menus, no prices or requirements of our guests. Our menu changes every day, made with love and with the needs of our unique community in mind. Come, bring your friends and family, and enjoy a warm welcome and the gift of a tasty meal. We can't wait to see you!
It all begins with a novel called “The Summer Kitchen” and an idea that wouldn’t go away – a nonprofit, pay-what-you-can cafe. Then comes a Bible study lesson on justice. A broken heart. A confession of self-righteousness and prejudice. A quote by David Livingstone, “Sympathy is never a substitute for action.” A mission trip to Costa Rica. Breakfast with a friend. A visit to the Opportunity Center for the Homeless in downtown El Paso. An issue of Christianity Today. One World Everybody Eats Foundation. An email.
In the summer of 2011 three friends, Christi Brown, Patsy Burdick, and Shelley Speicher meet to discuss the idea and pray. They become convinced that a pay-what-you-can café is God’s invitation to learn humility, compassion, kindness, and love. The idea is to create a table where everyone eats…regardless of their ability to pay.
The dream takes shape. Fears and insecurities do as well. God persists. A mission statement and vision points coalesce. A community interest meeting is held. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Checks arrive. Volunteers of every age and background begin to trickle forward through website interest sheets, cups of coffee, and conversations in offices, checkout lines, and parking lots.
Classes are taken. Book pages are dog-eared and devoured. A Steering Committee is formed. Grants written. Conferences and meetings attended. Locations are considered. Doors open and close. Friends are made. Wise counsel is given and embraced. Two years pass…
Fast forward to summer of 2013. A lease is signed, a garden designed, and the café becomes a reality in the Rio Grande neighborhood of our great city. God gives us four years in that beautiful community among beautiful friends. Lessons are learned, lives are changed, and through it all we experience God’s faithfulness and provision. Then in the beginning of 2018 the Lord closes those doors.
On May 30, 2018 Mustard Seed Cafe reopens at 201 E. Sunset Road. Westside Community Church is our new home and ministry partner in an area of town that has much need and is greatly underserved. We adopt a new mission statement, continue Wednesday - Friday lunch service, begin a free Community Meal on Wednesday evenings, build a 5,300 square foot garden and work to engage our new neighbors with an earnest desire to learn how to serve them well.
Life as we know it comes to a halt in March 2020 with COVID-19. Serving our neighbors well at that point means free nutritious meals served curbside and delivered by community and church partners to those facing food insecurity. We watch the LORD work in myriad ways and our desire to serve the vulnerable members of our community grows. Thanks to our community's resilience, we open our doors now with the gift of a free meal and a donation-based business model. Through our new model of operation, we have served in two years close to 65,000 meals, free of charge with no requirements. Our desire is to continue to serve the people of our community and follow our mission as we find our way forward together in the weeks and months ahead.
Executive Director+ About Me
Carmen Estrada was born and raised in Baranquilla, Colombia, in a loving family where she learned at an early age to serve and share with the less fortunate. She came to the United States in 1988, lived in New York, and it was there that she met and married her husband, Luis. Together they have two adult children, Joshalyn and Karla. The Estrada family has resided in El Paso since 1992, and shortly after arriving they became members of the First Baptist Church of El Paso. The respect and love that Carmen has for El Paso, especially the downtown community, has been developed and grown through the different ministries and programs of which she has been a part. Some of these programs include Camino de Luz, First Baptist Church Clothes Closet, and the nine street ministries (Agape Ministry). These ministries all have a special place in her heart. In all these ministries Carmen has seen, felt, and received the Grace of Jesus. After almost seven years working at La Familia del Paso, serving adults with mental illnesses, the Lord has led her to the Mustard Seed Café, to continue serve Him and the El Paso community.
Assistant Manager+ About Me
Araceli Romero was born in El Paso, TX and raised in Sunland Park, NM. She lived in Denver for 8 years and moved back to El Paso in 2007. Raised to serve God with a joyful heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself, she has been volunteering since she was 14 years old in ministry, outreaches, missions, schools, and wherever help was needed. She married her high school sweetheart Carlos and they were blessed with four beautiful children: Carlos (C.J), Jacob (A.J), Daniel (D.J.), and Julian (J.J.). They have gone through many different experiences in life, but always holding on to God in every step of the way. Araceli is looking forward to this next journey with the support of family and friends.
"For I truly tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move: and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20-21
Administrative Support+ About Me
A southwest desert girl born and raised, Anna Parrish came to the El Paso area from Arizona fifteen years ago and fell in love with this vibrant, unique region. In addition to administrative work at the Mustard Seed, she loves to read, spend time with her family and dogs, and learn about other cultures and perspectives through conversations, languages, and media. She sees God’s hand leading her to the Mustard Seed, and is excited to continue to trace His hand and heart through this ministry.
The Mustard Seed Cafe is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with a mission to serve warm delicious meals to those in need!