Shine for a Cause: Freedom a la Cart

Freedom a la CartThe Who

Freedom a la Cart is a unique approach to catering through cause cuisine. They offer a large, tasty selection of culinary delights from breakfast ‘til dinner such as bacon wrapped dates, or their signature box lunches.

Their mission is to empower survivors of human trafficking to build a new life of freedom and self-sufficiency. They believe that those who have lived in slavery should be empowered through economic independence. They are committed to training members of the community on the issue surrounding human trafficking in Franklin Country, as well as providing care to survivors.

Not only do they provide support services and workforce training, but they actually employ 25-30 females who are all survivors of human trafficking. The survivors employed must be referred by a program and have completed a drug and alcohol recovery program before their start.

The vision of Freedom a la Cart is to expand to a brick-and-mortar café in downtown Columbus for increased consistent work hours to grow the number of survivors employed and broaden the outreach in the community. They believe their model joins social purpose with business rationality, to be a scalable and replicable initiative. They envision replicating this model nationwide. 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.

The Story

Freedom a la Cart was originally established as Doma International as a community-based support program for adult survivors of human trafficking. Two years following this, they expanded to fill the void between restoration and independence by purchasing a food cart to act as a training tool for survivors looking to enter the workforce. Doma offered supportive services but Freedom a la Cart provided survivors with a job and the means to live.

In 2014 Doma and Freedom a la Cart combined support services with social enterprise to become the company it is today. What was once a single food cart is now a busy box lunch and full-service catering company, grown by the very people it sought to sustain. Freedom a la Cart creates fresh, flavorful food to give back to the community that gives so much to them.

A Few Quick Facts

  • In Franklin County alone, approximately 1,200 women are arrested each year for solicitation. Of that number, over 92% are identified as victims of human sex trafficking
  • Women are first trafficked at an average age of 13 through force, fraud, or coercion
  • Even after rescue, women continue to suffer effects of extensive trauma, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, arrested development, homelessness, and poverty
  • Forced labor generates $150.2 billion per year in illegal profits globally
  • Freedom a la Cart partnered with the Community Shelter Board and YMCA to feed a new homeless shelter on Van Buren Avenue every day to the shelter’s 400-500 guests preparing over 200,000 meals in 2015
  • Freedom partners with participants of CATCH Court – founded by Judge Paul M. Herbert who blends punitive sentences with a 2 –year treatment oriented non-adversarial program for rearrested prostitutes who are victims of human trafficking and suffer from PTSD, depression, and drug addiction. They provide supportive services such as: jail visits, delivery of personal items, personal mentoring, weekly lunches, monthly group outings, retreats, and an annual graduation celebration. They currently serve over 50 survivors in the program.

How to Donate

There’s a few ways! As you may know, at Argo & Lehne we’re celebrating women the whole month of March. If you’re feeling social, on Tuesday, March 28th from 5-8pm we’re throwing Freedom a la Cart a party. If you bring in any gently used costume and fashion jewelry item you will receive 15% of all new in-stock jewelry and 10% of giftware. What’s more, Freedom a la Cart receives 10% off all in-stock purchases to their cause!

To view more details on the event click “here”.

Busy that day? Purchase any Sharon Wei piece anytime during the week of March 27- April 1 and 10% of the purchase goes back to Freedom a la Cart.

How to Volunteer

Willing to share your time, talent, or treasure with Freedom? They are always looking for volunteers!

They first encourage all volunteers to complete basic Anti-Human Trafficking training available through “She Has A Name” ministry at Veritas Community Church.

Opportunities at Freedom include:

  • Lunch or Breakfast for CATCH Court
  • Become a Mentor
  • Fundraising
  • Transportation
  • Special Skills: photography, education professional, etc
  • Volunteer in Freedom a la Cart’s Kitchen
    • Catering Service
    • CSB for larger groups
    • Donate a meal

For more volunteer information and details click “here”.