Ohio Coffee Shop Gives Jobs to People with Special Needs: ‘This Is Our Purpose’

The Coffee Caravan is ran by people with special needs in Lebanon, Ohio.
Coffee Caravan/Facebook

The Coffee Caravan is the first coffee shop in the area to focus on giving jobs to individuals with special needs.

Located in Lebanon, Ohio, the shop opened Monday. “They’re just people,” co-owner and manager Mark Titmas told WLWT.

“Everybody has ability, it’s just a question of what it is. That’s why one of the things we have on our shirts is ‘What’s Your Ability,’ because everybody has talents and skills and they have talents and skills that they can display here,” he noted.

The business began in 2018 as part of the Residential Community Care that advocates for the empowerment, employment, and dignity of individuals with developmental disabilities.

At first, it was in a trailer located in the shop’s parking lot but now offers a chance for its employees to build relationships and hone their social skills with other staff members and customers.

“Our employees are capable, giving, and successful adults in our community,” its website reads.

The business shared a photo of several visitors on February 19, writing, “THIS is our purpose! Look who came to see the new coffee shop today!”:

THIS is our purpose! Look who came to see the new coffee shop today! #coffeewithapurpose #haveacup #changetheworld #openingsoon #coffeecaravan #rcc

Posted by The Coffee Caravan on Friday, February 19, 2021

On February 26, the shop posted a picture of its employees and another of a worker being interviewed by WLWT:

WLWT , Channel 5 came to the Coffee Caravan today! Grand Opening soon! #wlwt #airingsoon #grandopeningsoon #coffeewithapurpose☕️📺

Posted by The Coffee Caravan on Friday, February 26, 2021

Social media users expressed their excitement about the shop’s grand opening and praised the workers for mastering their coffee-making skills.

“I am so proud of this group here! They have worked so hard to get the Coffee Caravan open for business!! A Big Shout Out to everyone there in Lebanon, Ohio for a Great job well done!” one person commented.

“Congratulation[s]! Cannot wait until you open!!” another user wrote.

Right now, the Coffee Caravan has eight employees but said there is room for growth.

To qualify as a candidate, applicants must be 18-years-old and have earned their GED certificate, but they are not required to live in Warren County.

Last year, then-President Donald Trump highlighted Michael Heup, a special needs employee at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop, to promote the Paycheck Protection Program.

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