A 2nd Cup - More Than A Coffee Shop
A 2nd Cup is not your average cup of joe, or as its website boasts: “It’s more than a cafe. It’s coffee with a cause.” A 2nd Cup is a 501(c)(3) non-profit coffee shop fighting human trafficking in Houston, Texas, one cup of coffee at a time. A unique combination of business and philanthropy, A 2nd Cup truly offers a life-changing cup of coffee; using its profits to fight against human trafficking.
A 2nd Cup was established in 2012 not only to serve great coffee, but also to raise awareness about human trafficking issues and help provide support for survivors. Founder Erica Raggett always had the “coffee with a cause” vision in mind. When she learned about the issue of human trafficking, and its prevalence, especially in Houston, she knew “she couldn’t just walk away feeling bad about it, but had to walk away doing something about it.”
After extensive research, A 2nd Cup was born.
Before you even step foot into A 2nd Cup, you can see that it’s more than just a coffee shop. The windows outside ask even the casual passerby: “Did you know that Houston is a hub for human trafficking?,” and invites you to: “Come inside to learn more and find out how to get involved.”
Inside, every wall breeds greater awareness. The main wall tells you, in no uncertain terms, that “Contrary to popular belief, slavery didn’t end with sugar cane, shackles, and the south...it just went underground,” citing statistics about human trafficking and its overwhelming scale. And if you didn’t already know that you were getting more than a cup of coffee, a sign lets you know: “You Are Here - becoming aware, funding aftercare.”
Other walls offer a more personal side of the statistics, sharing the names and stories of survivors, from organizations like Polaris, Freedom for All, and Love146 (one of Dressember’s grant partners this year). Even in the bathroom, I learned the stories of survival of Katrina, Isabel, and April.
A 2nd Cup hosts an array of events, ranging from speakers from various organizations directly addressing the issue of human trafficking to community engagement events, like yoga nights. Its website offers a myriad of ways to further your involvement and support from fundraising and attending awareness events to volunteering with them and its partners.
Its commitment to “fighting against human trafficking” extends into the kitchen. They serve ethically sourced coffee beans, sugar, and chocolate. Its local roaster, Boomtown Coffee, offers coffee beans bought directly from farmers for prices that are typically 50 percent higher than fair trade standards.
Beyond raising awareness, ethical sourcing, and directing its funds to support organizations fighting against human trafficking, A 2nd Cup has also developed its own specialized aftercare program for survivors. Brazen Table is designed to “[empower] survivors of human trafficking to reclaim their personal identities and their futures while training to thrive in the hospitality industry and beyond.” A 2nd Cup understands that equipping survivors to find life giving employment is crucial to survivor’s sense of independence and self-agency, as well as the overall healing process. And because the average age of entry into trafficking in the US is 14 to 16, many survivors also miss out on educational opportunities and occupational experience. Driven by this understanding, Brazen Table was designed to help fill those gaps. Its program, with a well-trained staff and deep ties to the anti trafficking community, equips survivors to enter the food and hospitality industry and supports them as they rebuild their lives. They even have an Amazon wish list for Brazen Table for those wishing to offer support in that way.
“A 2nd Cup is here to make more than a great cup of coffee. We’re here to make a difference”
For me, A 2nd Cup is a powerful reminder of the fact that advocacy is not one size fits all. There isn’t one mold or path or formula to turn your passion for justice into impact. Erica combined her desire to open a coffee shop with a calling to be a source of awareness and change in the fight against human trafficking. Dressember’s CEO and founder, Blythe, turned a personal style challenge into a global movement, engaging thousands of advocates. We all have talents and passions that we can use and a voice we can raise. In ways both big and small, whatever your coffee and calling is, be bold and pursue it. Amazing things can happen when we don’t underestimate our ability to make an impact.
About the Author
Jacquelyn Chauviere Buss is a Diet Dr. Pepper addict with a deep love for people, especially babies. She recently graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Business Honors and a minor in Psychology. She is passionately hopeful to see slavery eradicated in her lifetime.