Ada’s Cafe has been a non-profit corporation serving healthy snacks to the community ever since its beginnings as the Tasty Treats Cafe at Terman (now Greene) Middle School. From the very start, Ada’s goal was to break down barriers between people with disabilities and those without disabilities. By allowing middle schoolers with disabilities to prepare and serve the treats, they not only would gain valuable life experiences, but also learn that their disabilities were obstacles that they could and would overcome.
In 2010, Ada’s won the bid to become the cafe vendor at the Mitchell Park Community Center, and opened its doors in 2014 to thousands of hungry customers by serving healthy snacks and drinks. With a 5 year plan to open a location in every county in the Bay Area, Ada’s opened a location in San Francisco and rented a commercial kitchen in Mountain View. However, in the summer of 2018, Ada’s faced economic pressures from minimum wage and rent increases. Ada’s currently is “feeling the squeeze ‘in every aspect of running the business’” says Kathleen Foley-Hughes, founder of Ada’s Cafe. However, this is not the endgame as Ada’s has won the Tall Tree Award for Outstanding Non-profit and was recognized by the California State Assembly in 2018 and 2017 respectively, showing that their work is known which could make getting grants and donations easier.
The work that Ada’s is doing not only furthers the idea of a more sustainable world with its healthy food, but also pushes disabled people back into society by giving them the ability to work. This social precedent is key as Foley-Hughes adds: “Adults with developmental disabilities represent one of the fastest growing segments of the population and face high unemployment rates — as high as 80 percent”. With the plan to expand to every county in the Bay Area, Ada’s brings adults with disabilities and the rest of the community together with good, healthy food. By ending the vicious cycle that encompasses disabled adults, Ada’s works to give people with disabilities a chance to serve themselves and their community a better future.