“DO YOU KNOW THE STORY OF THIS COFFEESHOP?”
I try to ask every customer this question. Usually I can tell if it’s their first time here. Say, if they’re exploring the floor space, squinting at the homemade pastries, inspecting the tabletops because, yes, they are made of pallets.
Get it? Pallet? Palate?
“Well,” I say, “all the profits here go to fight human trafficking.”
Their faces light up. If they weren’t crazy for coffee before, they are now. Turns out, their guilty pleasure (aka a cuppa) goes to a good cause. Who doesn’t love that?
But ‘all profits fight human trafficking’ doesn’t scratch the surface. Majority of our regulars know the story.
BUT THEY DON’T KNOW THE FULL STORY.
I didn’t know the full story when I started volunteering. That was spring of 2017. The owner Tina Kadolph and her husband, Carl, took me outside to watch a video about Tina’s backstory. I knew they were passionate about human trafficking. After all, Palate is part of their anti-trafficking nonprofit, Love Missions. Which means, more than $36,000 has benefited victims of human trafficking as well as at-risk women and children.
Still, I didn’t know the personal story.
As the video recounted Tina’s childhood, my eyes welled with tears. She was four years old when her mother sold her for sex.
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Tina says, “I would go to school and then miss a lot. And then I would go again and miss a lot. And people knew something was wrong. I was very withdrawn.”
She goes on to say, “When I was about eight, a truant officer came to check on why I was missing so much school. And I thought, finally, someone is going to find out. But instead, my mom had sex with him.”
At twenty years old, she was prepared to end her life. But then she met Carl. He told her that if she ever needed someone to talk to, she could talk to him.
“He saved me,” Tina says.
There was still a painful healing process she had to go through. But it led to the launch of Love Missions in 2000.
AND THAT’S WHY PALATE COFFEE BREWERY EXISTS.
When I ask new customers if they know the story, I want to tell them everything. How Tina’s story moved me to tears.
How her family—Carl, their son Devon, their daughter Katrina, their son-in-law Chas—put so much dedication and heart into Palate.
How survivors of human trafficking have connected with Tina and found hope in her story. But that would be a lot of words. Most of the people who amble through our doors just need caffeine and company. So I still tell them about the cause. All profits go to fight human trafficking.
Then I try to make them the best coffee drink they’ve ever had. If that’s how I can extend hope and love, then it’s a blessing to me as well.