Freedom a la Cart Cafe + Bakery
A place of our own
Freedom a la Cart is a nonprofit social enterprise that makes meals more meaningful by tastefully combining fresh, from-scratch cuisine with life-changing employment and long-term support to local survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation. What started in 2011 as a food cart to create job opportunities has since blossomed into a thriving box lunch and catering business, fast-casual café, and weekly meal subscription service, Freedom at Home.
Each year Freedom serves over 400 survivors with supportive services. Over the past five years, 80 survivors received workforce training, of which 83% of program participants have received no new criminal charges. But there’s more work to do! According to the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio has ranked as high as 5th among all states in total reported human trafficking cases.
In April 2021, our vision to increase capacity became a reality as we moved into our new home. The project included the expansion of our social enterprise catering business with a fast casual café located in downtown Columbus at 123 E Spring street. The 5,000 square foot space includes a commercial kitchen supporting both catering and the café, café, seating, plus a first-of-its-kind Survivor Resource Center (The Freedom Loft) on the upper level. Through this expansion, Freedom a la Cart will employ twice as many survivors through the workforce development program; reach over 600 survivors annually through the resource center, and extend our message of hope with a visual presence in the local community.
A Place Of Our Own
Over the past 10 years, Freedom a la Cart has been housed in six different facilities. Although each location served a purpose, the Freedom a la Cart Café + Bakery and Freedom Loft establishes a true home for Freedom, ensures the longevity of the organization, and curates a place survivors can come to for support, community, and encouragement — a place of our own. Through the expansion, we’ve been able to create a safe space for survivors to gather, heal, learn and grow. Every woman who encounters Freedom a la Cart knows she is valued, supported and loved by our community.
The café, kitchen and upper level Freedom Loft were strategically structured with trauma-informed design principles to provide a safe oasis for survivors. By incorporating natural light, specific design colors, live greenery, and strategic layouts with open sight paths, the Freedom Loft offers a woman repose in the midst of whatever circumstance she faces in her life. Every design and detail in the café, kitchen, and Freedom Loft has purpose- to continue promoting the message of recovery and restoration.
Who We Serve
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and has deep roots in Central Ohio. Through a strong partnership with CATCH Court specialty docket of Franklin County Municipal Court, Freedom a la Cart serves women who have been trafficked for sex: 96% are female; 32% were first sold for sex before age 15; 70% were sexually abused as a child; 50% have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI); 96% have been in jail or prison, an average of 11X; 64% have felonies; 62% have mental health issues; 83% have children; 100% suffer from drug addiction. To reintegrate into society and become self-sufficient, survivors need to gain comprehensive life skills training AND workforce development in a safe environment that understands their complex trauma and supports their continual journey of restoration.
Our results are self-sufficient women who are reintegrating into the community. They are retaining a job, paying taxes, getting their driver’s license, buying cars, attending college, moving into permanent housing, regaining custody of their children and transitioning off government assistance. From a 2020 internal survey of our Butterfly Continuum of Care program participants: 63% live independently in stable housing; 66% have a current drivers’ license, 62% are currently employed, 77% do NOT receive financial housing assistance, and 82% do NOT receive social security assistance. Generational impact!
Please join us in supporting a place of our own in the community for these amazing survivors!
Donate or make a pledge to our
Designate your donation or commit your pledge to Freedom a la Cart’s Capital Campaign today, and become an advocate alongside survivors for lives of freedom and self-sufficiency. We look forward to seeing you on Spring Street!
Thank you to our
major funding partners