Greenville author hosts dinner to fundraise for Awaken Coffee

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – An author here in the east hosted a benefit dinner for Awaken Coffee, a non-profit coffee shop that will employ adults with special needs here in the east.

Awaken Coffee Co-Founder Carol Preston and author Lisa Allen put together a dinner as one of the final fundraising efforts for the non-profit. The coffee shop will be opening in April on the corner of West 14th Street and Evans in Greenville.

Allen is the author of The Key in the Willow Tree, and on page 155 of her book, she mentions a coffee shop named Awaken Coffee and hints at other local nonprofits in Eastern Carolina.

Preston’s will be hiring 16 employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They will learn soft skills, like interacting with customers, managing inventory, and making cold and hot coffees.

Bridget Kilcoyne was a volunteer at the dinner. She has high-functioning autism and is one of 36 adults who are applying to work at Awaken. Kilcoyne says she’s a team player who loves learning new skills.

“I’m very excited. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for those with special needs” said Kilcoyne. “A lot of people with special needs don’t have as many opportunities for jobs, so this is a great way to get them to have experience and be able to go out into the world and work.”

Preston says 78% of those with special needs are unemployed, and says that in Pitt County there are over 10,000 people with an intellectual or physical disability.

So, she hopes with this coffee shop not only lowers that statistic but is a stepping stone for them to work at other places here in the east.

Their next fundraiser, before the grand opening, will be a yard sale on March 4 from 7 a.m. to noon at Unity Church.

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