This summer Eva Vega and her husband, Henry, met with me to discuss a partnership opportunity for the AYMC and their business, THYME and Play. THYME and Play is a personal chef service that creates fun dinner experiences for veterans, adults, caregivers and families that are neuro-diverse, physically impaired or may struggle in a “typical” restaurant environment. Their mission is to nourish the heart, mind and body of the Greenville community by fusing social opportunity, disability awareness and great food all in one.
Several years ago, they took their autistic son to a restaurant to celebrate his birthday with some mac n’ cheese and ice cream. After about fifteen minutes, the manager came over and asked them to leave because other patrons were feeling uncomfortable. Of course, they left but were feeling embarrassed and mad. That was the beginning of the dream for their business. They soon began offering dinners at their home. Couples would make a reservation for dinner and bring their child with them. While the parents were being treated to a home cooked gourmet meal, children were being entertained and supervised in a separate area by certified therapists. It wasn’t long until their home could no longer accommodate the guests.
That is where First Baptist comes in. They began reaching out to various churches to sponsor them by offering a place to have the dinners. I met with them, and we looked at the downstairs area of the AYMC and decided it would be a good fit. They had their first dinner here on September 21, and the space was transformed into a beautiful restaurant setting. Wonderful aromas permeated throughout the building. One of the nearby classrooms was set up as the play area for the children with all sorts of things for them to do. There were arts and crafts, movies, puzzles, books and so much more. With the glass walls, parents could even see into the classroom and know how much fun their children were having.
Feedback from Eva, Henry and the guests was wonderful. Some are even interested in getting more information about the church and all it has to offer. I am so glad that our partnership exists. To me, they embody in their business everything that First Baptist strives to be.