All families welcome for pay-as-you-can Father’s Day meal

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VERSAILLES, Ky. (WKYT) - Fathers across central Kentucky were able to get a great brunch while paying what they can. It’s part of new restaurant Spark Community Café’s business model.

"Most of the cafes run on an 80/20 principle. Meaning if 80 percent of the people coming through the door are paying full suggested price and paying it forward or tipping it forward as we say, then the other 20 percent of our customers aren't paying at all or are paying what they can,” said Co-Executive Director and Front of the house manager Tristan Ferrell.

The restaurant opened in March in downtown Versailles. While it continues the “pay what you can model” every day, it offered a special brunch on Mother’s and Father’s Day.

Ferrell pre-loaded Spark cards to give to local schools, allowing students to take their guardians out to a nice brunch even if they or the family cannot afford it.

"When I taught at the high school our food insecurity rate, the free and reduced rate, was anywhere from 30-40 percent my whole career. That's unacceptable for a community with this kind of wealth,” said Co-Executive Director Kyle Fannin.

The Spark cards are accessible to anyone. Customers may purchase one to donate money and others may have a card which has money loaded onto it.

"It levels the playing field completely, you have no idea who's paying because they received a card or who are paying because they bought a card,” Ferrell explained.

The idea began with a community outreach class Fannin started while working at Woodford County High School. The class pushed students to think about ways to better the community, from there Spark was born.

After years of success from Spark pop-up coffee shops, festivals and other ideas, Ferrell and other students wanted to find a way to continue giving to the community. With the help of Fannin and others in the community, Spark Community Café was created.

Families who attended Sunday Father’s day brunch say the message behind the café keeps them coming back.

“We are fortunate and we understand that not everyone is as fortunate as we are and it's a way to give back to those who could use a little bit of help,” said Gene Zaparanick-Brown. “I think maybe coming in and even volunteering is even a more meaningful way to get to see first-hand who you're helping potentially and get a better feel on what you're doing to help others."

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