Community Link & Southern Illinois Living Centers to Open The Red Porch Café

Pictured are: (Front row) Barb Nelson, Community Link Director of Adult Day Programs, Eldon Ahner, R.E.A.L. President, Lynn Huelsmann, Community Link Executive Director; (Back Row) Representatives from R.E.A.L. Group Gordon Hoerchler, Jim Lopresto and Cheryl Smith.

Community Link, in partnership with Southern Illinois Living Centers, will soon be opening The Red Porch Café at 301 West Hanover in New Baden. The Red Porch, with the mission to Brew Good. Do Good. will focus on three areas:  Café. Community. Connect.

Cafe – The Red Porch will offer espresso drinks, coffee, The Republic of Tea, soda products and light meals.

Community—The Red Porch will provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to work and gain skills that will be transferable to other jobs. It will be a place that gives business owners a deeper understanding of the contributions that persons with disabilities provide the business world.

Connect—The Red Porch will create a space that promotes inclusion and togetherness, as well as a place to catch up with an old friend or make a new one.

Southern Illinois Living Centers provided and is currently renovating a house on Hanover Street. Community Link is completing the final pieces necessary to open. One of these pieces includes purchasing equipment for the kitchen.

The Resources for Enhanced Active Living (R.E.A.L.) Group graciously donated $8,293.94 towards the purchase of an espresso machine, coffee brewer and coffee grinder.

In existence since 2004, The R.E.A.L Group’s purpose is to make available or augment services and supports to afford a lifestyle of dignity and opportunity for mature adults and people with developmental disabilities. Since its inception, they have offered grants and entered into business/partnership opportunities in order to fulfill their purpose.

Jim Lopresto, Southern Illinois Living Centers’ executive director, is thrilled with the collaborative nature of the project. “We are particularly enthused to join Community Link in this venture. As an organization, Community Link has demonstrated its own strong commitment to both the people and the local communities we support. We believe that by partnering and sharing resources we can all effectively work together in this venture for the common good.”

Renovation and hiring for a full-time barista manager and a part-time barista are underway at The Red Porch with a fall opening planned. Individuals interested in working at the café may submit their resume to Community Link, Attn:  Café, 1665 N. Fourth Street, Breese, IL 62230.

About Community Link – Community Link, a non-profit organization and proud United Way member agency, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through a person-centered approach that promotes self-directed living choices and community integration opportunities. The mission of Community Link is to challenge, teach and inspire both participants and community, linking them in ways that enhance their lives. For more information, please visit our website at www.commlink.org.

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