A new pop-up slush stand recently opened in Wakefield, working to provide employment opportunities for people living with disabilities.
Known as INspire Cafe, the stand on Main Street is running in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wakefield and Stoneham.
“INspire Cafe is not only a mission to show people what our employees can do and that they are employable, but to show our employees the value in themselves,” said INspire’s Tara Kelly.
Many of the people now working at INspire Cafe previously worked at Bitty & Beau’s, a coffee shop in Melrose that had to shut its doors earlier this year. When Bitty & Beau’s closed, employees were left without a job.
“A group of families decided that was just too much of a positive experience that we could not let that go,” said Marie Rej, a co-chair of the Friends of INspire Cafe Board of Directors. “So, we are here recreating it.”
Organizers said they’ve seen crowds of people enjoying what INspire has to offer since its opening.
The INspire name, itself, is built around inclusion, independence and inspiring change.
“I love working with my coworkers,” said INspire employee Kevin Burke. “We get to see each other again. We get to hang out here and take a lot of selfies. It’s just a treasure to be working with this group of kids again. They’re family to me.”
With its pop-up open, the INspire family is hoping to land in a more permanent home sooner rather than later.
“When we open up the new cafe, I hope we all make some new friends, make some memories and bring all these people from this place to come to the cafe,” said INspire employee Danny Gill.
The INspire Cafe team is trying to raise $75,000 to help open a permanent location. To date, they have raised $35,000.
Learn more about the INspire Cafe fundraising effort here.