New Café Offers a Pathway into the Workforce

Regional Economic Community Action Program (RECAP) works to meet basic needs and increase self-sufficiency among low-income people in Orange County, NY. RECAP’s Fresh Start Café does both: it offers employment training and support services to people on public assistance, and it gives them a decent job, increasing their economic stability and serving as a stepping stone into the workforce. This year, Leviticus provided RECAP an $85,000 loan to cover the costs of building out a new café in Middletown.

 For over 50 years, RECAP has provided a wide range of services to low-income people and families, including affordable and supportive housing, energy assistance, Head Start programs, addiction treatment, and basic food services. By opening this new café—RECAP’s third café in Orange County and first with a street-level storefront—the organization can increase its ability to fill another basic need for families to help them succeed: stable employment and training.

The café will support employees—including those receiving public benefits, the formerly incarcerated, and other unemployed workers—with job readiness, work skills, and job placement. Beyond culinary training, it offers education on a range of soft skills, from budgeting to business management to interviewing. As a result, along with a stable income, café workers can gain the capacity to find long-term success as professionals or as entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the café provides fresh, healthy, and affordable food to its community, including residents of The Mill at Middletown, the 42-unit workforce housing development where the café will occupy ground-floor space. Leviticus provided a predevelopment loan to RECAP in 2014 for The Mill, which was an adaptive reuse of a vacant, historic factory building.

Our seven year, $85,000 loan will allow RECAP to pay for this expansion and to continue fostering this creative model for economic opportunity. It will also further advance our own growing financial support of equitable employment and economic revitalization in communities of need.