Hi, my name is Julie. I live in Austin, Texas, and love to travel all over the world, eat great food, and meet amazing people.
Appetite for Humanity grew out of these three loves.
Food has an incredible power to bring people of different cultures together. I’ve seen this proven in countless ways—perhaps most notably since 2016, when the Syrian civil war helped spur me to begin investing significant time and energy in helping refugees.
I’d had a desire to launch into humanitarian work for some time. And it was in this season that I realized something very important: helping wasn’t complicated. There were people coming right into my own city who needed support. And providing for their needs could be as simple as pulling up a chair.
So I started showing up.
Whether working with resettlement programs or nonprofits, engaging with families directly, or launching new support efforts when necessary, I’ve spent the past six years witnessing the ways that comfort and community flourish in kitchens and around tables—anywhere people gather to share the foods and stories of their homelands.
Over the years, I’ve not only had the opportunity to help families from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries as they adjust to their new lives here in the United States. But I’ve also been privileged to get to know them. And almost inevitably, those relationships began when people opened their homes, inviting me and other volunteers in for a meal.
And would they roll out the red carpet! This gracious, generous sharing of a meal is the way of their cultures. But it’s also a beautiful means by which refugees could connect with us and thank us for our support.
These meals have been some of the most heartwarming experiences I’ve had in Austin. And over time, I developed a desire to connect more people with our city’s newest residents, so that others could experience this warmth and hospitality (and eat some great food!).
In that spirit, I gathered a group of people and organizations, and together, we hosted community dinners. Our new friends cooked beautiful, traditional dishes from their home countries, and we all left feeling more connected. The dinners were a success all around; they provided a helpful financial boost to the families while spurring awareness and support for refugees that had moved to Austin.
Meanwhile, I continued thinking about all the ways to bring people together over a love of food. As I researched, I discovered countless organizations that were doing just that: caterers, restaurants, cafes, supper clubs, cookbook efforts, business incubators, training programs, and so much more. All around the world, meaningful initiatives are welcoming and supporting refugees and immigrants through the uniting power of food and food culture.
Appetite for Humanity is here to shine a light on these wonderful organizations.
This website is a space where the world can learn about these great initiatives, and where the organizations themselves can learn from one another, sharing information, stories, challenges, and successes.
For most of us, the very idea of being forced to leave our home is unthinkable—not to mention the enormous challenge of settling into a completely new country and culture. Amidst such obstacles, food can serve as both a comfort and a livelihood.
Appetite for Humanity brings together projects and initiatives that exist at the intersection of food, service, and community. Take some time to learn what’s out there. As you do, I hope you’ll feel empowered to get involved and help tackle this global challenge, one bite at a time.
Thank you for visiting,