Food Social Enterprise

Helping refugee women gain financial freedom through food-based programs

The Power of Sharing a Meal


Hello Neighbor’s Food Social Enterprise Program is an initiative that began back in 2018 with our Neighbor Cookie Table, which offers a selection of sweet treats made by Syrian refugee mothers available for purchase online.

There is a growing interest by our refugee families for opportunities to cook, as many of our mothers have small children at home or face other barriers such as language and transportation that prevent them from seeking work outside of the home. The cookie tables allow women the opportunity to make a supplemental income by earning $0.75 of every dollar, all while sharing their cooking and culture with their new Pittsburgh neighbors.

We are also continually motivated to expand our programs as we see women building confidence and a sense of fulfillment through the ability to work and create food for others. Our most recent expansion of the Social Food Enterprise program has included community dinners in Pittsburgh featuring authentic cuisine prepared by one our refugee women in partnership with local restaurants. These community dinners allow people to come together for an evening of exploring the flavors of another culture while supporting our efforts to promote the inclusion of refugees in the Pittsburgh region.

Our refugee families are full of talented, hardworking individuals and we are continually looking for new ways to support them in their endeavors. Whether it is serving food in partnership with local businesses, selling handmade goods in local markets, or something else, we are always accepting ideas for partnerships that create opportunities for our newest neighbors.

New Neighbor Cookie Table

If you’ve ever been to a Pittsburgh wedding, you’re probably familiar with the widely accepted tradition of the cookie table. Holding true to this beloved Pittsburgh custom, we decided to start our own cookie table. The New Neighbor Cookie Table features sweet treats made by the mothers of our Syrian families, offering our refugee women the opportunity to earn a supplemental income all while sharing their culture and love for cooking with their new Pittsburgh neighbors.

The New Neighbor Cookie Table features delicious Middle Eastern treats including Baklava, Basbousa, Ghoriba, and Osh El Bulbul and is available seasonally around Thanksgiving, December, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day. Custom orders are available at any time throughout the year.

Now accepting orders for the Thanksgiving New Neighbor Cookie Table.

Custom Orders

Custom Orders are available for purchase at any time throughout the year with a minimum purchase of 8 dozen sweets starting at $100 with a $20 custom fee.

All orders must be placed at least one week prior to the requested pickup date. Once an order has been placed, someone from Hello Neighbor will reach out to confirm your order details within 2 business days.

Pickup: All orders will be available for pickup Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm at our office in Bakery Square.

Custom orders are currently on pause through the end of 2019. If you are experiencing a “baklava emergency”, you can contact us directly. We’ve been known to make exceptions.

Community Dinners

The idea for our community dinners was born from the relationship between one of our mentors who owned a restaurant, and one of our mentees who loved to cook.

These dinners feature authentic cuisine prepared by one of our refugee women in collaboration with a local chef, offering the opportunity for neighbors to gather for a cultural experience and an opportunity to support recently resettled refugees.

Our previous community dinners have featured Syrian food and Nepalese food. You can see photos and videos from past events here:

Are you a local Pittsburgh restaurant interested in promoting inclusion in your community? Partner with us.

Partnership Opportunities

We are looking to host a series of community dinners over the course of the year, where we can highlight our wonderful cooks and the diversity that Pittsburgh has to offer. We would love to host one community dinner every three months, with additional holiday dinners or events.

We are currently looking for:

  • Restaurants to partner with for community dinners in 2020.
  • Coffee shops or bakeries to co-create sweets or items with a portion of the proceeds going to support Hello Neighbor.
  • Local food or craft markets interested in selling homemade goods from local refugee women.
  • Individuals, businesses, and creative partners who want to engage more Pittsburghers in the work of Hello Neighbor. If you are excited about the work we are doing or have ideas for how to make Pittsburgh more welcoming, we want to hear from you!

Other Ways to Get Involved:

  • Custom order from us for staff parties
  • Advertise our Thanksgiving and December New Neighbor Cookie Table