Edgewood Ave’s Cafe 458: eat eggs, do good

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Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency Graduates

I just went to Yelp and looked for Sunday Brunch Atlanta. The #2 result with 4.5 stars was Cafe 458.

Made me smile with delight, cause I Love Cafe 458. I mean where else can you go for brunch and be doing a good deed simply by eating eggs?

Cafe 458 opened in June 1988 by the Community of Hospitality headed up by Rev AB Short. A few people who were dedicated to helping the homeless. Someone wondered if there wasn’t a better way to feed the homeless, something with more dignity than a traditional soup kitchen.

So they opened a Cafe where their clients were all greeted at the door and escorted to a table, given a menu, that offered choices and a server came to take their order and then deliver their food.

In 2003 Cafe 458 started opening to the public for Sunday Brunch. Staffed primarily by volunteers there are only two paid staffers, the Chef and the Front of House Manager. Presently they are Chef Shane Devereux, (who is kind of an Atlanta legend – google him) and KC Myers. Everyone else, the host, chef’s assistants, servers, bussers, dishwashers everyone else volunteers.

This way all the proceeds especially the tax-deductible tips go directly into programs that are helping homeless people become self-sufficient again.

If all the Cafe did was feed their clients with respect and dignity I would still love it, but they do so much more. The organization behind Cafe 458 is Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency (ACSS).

ACSS offers several programs. The one that won my heart is Career Works.

Career Works is an intense three-week work readiness program. I expected to see resume building and mock interviews and I was really surprised at the level of life coaching. For example, I sat in on a class that was all about identifying bullying behavior in the workplace, how to stand up to it without being confrontational and how to check yourself I mean, I know I can slip into Mean Girl.

Graduates of Career Works have goals but even more they have Life Plans. Here’s a real story of how that works:

A woman was homeless November 1, 2013. She connected with ACSS and was in the November 2013 Career Works Class. She was working at graduation; about a third of the grads start new jobs within the three weeks.

She was working at McDonalds, for minimum wage. Because she had a plan she didn’t have a pity party. She focused. Soon she was a Team Leader at McD’s. Then she was hired at UPS where she soon became a Manager. 14 months after being homeless she bought a house. Today three years after being homeless she’s still in that house and still working for UPS.

In 2016 ACSS helped over 300 people go from being homeless to being self-sufficient, housed and employed full time.

Come in for Brunch. And you know if you Volunteer and work Brunch, we’ll feed you for free

ACSS also needs volunteers during the week.

And clothes, especially business attire for women.

Find Cafe 458 and Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency on Facebook and the website http://www.atlantacss.org/

About Maran Banta

Maran Banta lives in and passionately loves Atlanta. You can usually find her volunteering most Sundays at Café 458. You can also find her on Facebook here.

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