The United Tastes of America builds
belonging and respect for
refugees And asylum seekers
When refugees are resettled in the United States, they often encounter language, cultural and economic barriers that segregate them and deprive them from fully belonging. We are dedicated to changing the perception of refugees, accelerating their integration and building participation in this journey from local communities.
We host and organize supper clubs, corporate and group catering, work-ready culinary training, and mentoring. Our talented female cooks utilize deep skills and talents to meet new friends, help support their families and acclimate to their new home. Our US guests and hosts enjoy sharing the warmth of welcome, meeting new neighbors and future friends.
Our 550+ events have helped changed the negative rhetoric surrounding this vulnerable group.
The United Tastes of America is a 501(C)(3) registered charity.
Our vision is a world where human dignity is respected. A world where refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed, embraced, and given the tools to thrive independently.
Our mission is to integrate refugees and asylum seekers through food, social enterprise and community connections. We are dedicated to bridging differences and fostering inclusion.
The United Tastes of America is a story of humanity, heritage and hummus.
With the US government slow to respond to the Syrian Civil War humanitarian emergency, and xenophobia on the rise, Kate McCaffrey and Melina Macall saw an opportunity to respond to this global crisis on a local level.
Driven by the desire to change the narrative from fear to friendship, they organized a traditional Jewish American Christmas feast with 200 Muslim and Jewish guests. Next, they raised funds to pay off the travel loan debt that saddled a Syrian family of six. Then came summer camp for the newly resettled families' kids.
Any visit to a Syrian home includes mandatory feasting and Kate and Melina soon realized that sharing meals would break down cultural barriers. The Syria Supper Club was born.
The two feisty and fearless activists have since served 7,500 meals and 8.5 tons of hummus across the tri-state area. They now work with resettled families from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Rwanda, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. In recognition of this expansion, the Syria Supper Club has become the United Tastes of America.
Kate and Melina are available for public speaking, in addition to mentoring other communities in supper club programs.
Meet Our Founders
Melina is a community organizer and public speaker with 15+ years experience primarily focused on food justice. She teaches on food justice and sustainable food systems at William Paterson University. Her primary research interests include Cuba and agroecology and the US food system's impact on health.
Kate is a cultural anthropologist, working for many years in Vieques, Puerto Rico with people displaced by a U.S. military bombing range; in Orange, NJ, with immigrants fleeing war and political unrest, as well as residents resisting gentrification; and more recently with resettled refugees in New Jersey. She is an associate professor of anthropology at Montclair State University.
Social Media and Communications
Alice is a documentary film graduate. She works with refugee and migrant populations in the Balkans and MENA region, most recently in Lebanon with Salam LADC. Alice uses her skills to show the often unseen and truly amazing work that non-profit organizations are doing to assist people all around the world.
“I’m an anthropology major, focusing on culture, concepts of home, connection, and food. I believe food brings everyone closer together. I’m very excited to learn all that I can, both about how cooking affects people, and the fantastic recipes used for the community meals that the UToA is famous for!”
Meet our Team
Dignity sits at the heart of our organization. It drives our program creation and growth. By providing skilled and respectful opportunities and connections, we have moved away from the common narrative of victimhood, toward dignity.
We believe that an equitable exchange - be that of services, goods, cultures or stories – drives dignity and enriches both giver and recipient. We strive to embed this in our supper clubs, catering and training. Our aim is to provide meaningful opportunities and encourage autonomy.
We encourage all citizens to stand shoulder to shoulder with those seeking refuge and safety. We are dedicated to changing the negative rhetoric surrounding refugees and asylum seekers, and activate community support and engagement.
We believe in sharing open doors and open hearts. We value nurturing resettled families by building belonging and connection. It is our shared humanity that will help tackle isolation and economic deprivation.
We believe in the power of home. We believe that citizens, immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees alike should feel at home in their home.
We believe in affirmation. In building belonging, in nurturing connections. We value listening.
We believe in a world where doors are opened, cultures shared, differences celebrated. In building bridges, not walls. In solidarity taking us further, faster.
We believe in shared humanity, that our commonalities bind us. That refugee is a label, not a person. That migration is a core human experience.
We believe that sharing food and tables builds bridges. That culinary collaboration breaks barriers and creates confidence.
We believe that real change happens by providing opportunities not fostering dependence. That an equitable exchange builds dignity. We believe in a hand-up not a hand-out.
Together, we help shape better futures.