Our Mission, Values & Vision
Our mission at Freedom is to empower survivors of human trafficking to build a new life of freedom and self-sufficiency. Through offering supportive services, practical life skills, dignified jobs and workforce training, Freedom a la Cart is a place where survivors can heal, learn and grow as they prepare for full-time employment opportunities in the community.
We value HOPE in tomorrow; BEAUTY in ourselves, our surroundings and our work; TRUST in one another; COMPASSION for those suffering; and COLLABORATION together to produce great things.
Freedom is now positioned to support moving into our own kitchen space for the catering/box lunch business and directly serve the public with our own café. By expanding the catering service into a brick-and-mortar café in downtown Columbus, the opportunity for increased consistent work hours will enable Freedom to grow the number of survivors employed and broaden outreach and advocacy efforts in the community.
We believe our model that joins social purpose with business rationality is scalable, replicable and effective. We envision replicating our model in cities nationwide. It is our strong hope and vision that other cities will employ intentional economic empowerment as a means to break cycles of exploitation.
StephanieFreedom a la Cart Trainee
I was a prostitute for 15 years. Freedom gave me an opportunity to redeem myself and gave me back my self worth and a purpose. Freedom means having purpose, having a place where I feel I belong, and loving me so I can love myself. I’ve learned how to have a good work ethic and be a team player.
In 2009, our founder, Julie Clark, established Doma International as a community-based support program for adult survivors of human trafficking. Two years later we expanded the program to fill the void between restoration and economic independence, and purchased a food cart as a work force training tool for survivors. While Doma offered supportive services toward restoration, Freedom a la Cart social enterprise gave survivors a job and means to live. Freedom became the vehicle – literally – through which survivors began the ever important first steps to self-sufficiency.
Today, we are so much more! What was once a single food cart is now a bustling box lunch and full-service catering company, grown from the hearts and hard work of the women who sustain us. The 2014 merge of Doma and Freedom a la Cart combined support services with social enterprise through one deliciously harmonious brand.
As these amazing women continue on their journey of rescue, rehabilitation and restoration – the ultimate path toward a triumphant return to society – the result couldn’t be more appetizing: Cause Cuisine.
To deliver a genuine culinary experience to our patrons, Freedom a la Cart creates fresh, flavorful food full of eclectic , unexpected choices. Whenever possible, we choose local sources for our ingredients, giving back to the community that gives so much to us.
Who We Serve
In Franklin County alone, approximately 1,200 women are arrested each year for solicitation. Over 92% are identified as victims of human sex trafficking — first trafficked for sex at the average age of 13 through force, fraud or coercion. Women who have escaped this life of modern day slavery, continue to suffer the effects of extensive trauma, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, arrested development, homelessness and poverty.
We work primarily, but not exclusively, with participants of CATCH Court — a specialized docket in Columbus, Ohio founded by Judge Paul M. Herbert. CATCH blends punitive sentences with a 2-year treatment-oriented non-adversarial program for rearrested prostitutes who are victims of human trafficking and suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and drug addiction. We provide these program participants with supportive services which may include: jail visits; delivery of whites and personal items; personal mentoring; weekly lunches; monthly group outings; retreats and an annual graduation celebration. We currently serve over 50 survivors in the CATCH Court program.
In August 2014, Freedom a la Cart partnered with the Community Shelter Board (CSB) and YMCA to manage the kitchen at the new Van Buren Community Center homeless shelter. This grant-funded contract has created consistent, entry-level employment and training opportunities for those entering the Freedom a la Cart workforce development program. Our staff prepares breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the shelter’s 300-500 guests. In 2016, Freedom prepared over 278,000 meals.
Through our catering business and kitchen management service we are able to offer workforce development to job-ready participants. In 2016, Freedom provided supportive services to 116 survivors of human trafficking, with 48 participating in our workforce development program. Today, 25 survivors are paid employees in our job training program and receive one-on-one case management services.
Our Management Staff
Jessica Levy (Chef Jess)
Director of Catering
Volunteers and Key Partners Manager
Tammana (Tam) Bharakhda
Raymond F. Moats III, L.P.A.
Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office
Domestic Violence Unit
Antonietta (Deborah) Quinci
Quinci Emporium & former Freedom a la Cart Executive Chef