Minden Press-Herald

Wednesday
Oct 01st

Tea room serves opportunity

The Timeless Café and Tea Room, located at 615 Main St. in downtown Minden, aims to serve not only their customers but also their employees.

The restaurant, which is open from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., is operated by Evergreen Life Services – an organization, which aims to enable the lives of those with intellectual and physical disabilities.

"What we are doing is really a ministry and we feel blessed to be here," said Lesa Hamilton, Executive Director of Evergreen Life Services north central Louisiana district office. "Here at the cafe, the people waiting on, serving you and cleaning up after you are the people with disabilities our organization helps."

Hamilton said the goal is to provide an opportunity to these individuals, not normally provided.

"Having a job, making money, being as self sufficient as possible ... that means so much to these individuals," she said. "We are able to work with them as we train them to do a job, wait tables or wash dishes. Then, after they become great at their job, we can help place them in a job doing what they have been trained to do."

This process opens up an opportunity for another person to be trained while the fully-trained individual secures employment elsewhere.

"Right now, I have two individuals who could be placed in a job elsewhere," Hamilton said. "Two more are in training now, waiting for their opportunity to work in the café. Several more are waiting to start their training."

Because some trainees may not be literate, circling the menu item desired and giving the menu to the server is how customers place their orders at the cafe.

Items on the menu include soups, salads, sandwiches and deserts ranging in price from $2 for a bowl of soup to $7.99 for specialty sandwiches.

"It is important to us to provide great, consistent service and food," Hamilton said. "This is a venture people in the community will appreciate- because it is all about doing the best you can do, and it helps others. That is the heart of this community."

Since 1959, Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries, Inc. has served individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In the beginning, four Presbyterian ministers and a handful of staff opened a facility in an abandoned schoolhouse in Evergreen with a goal of caring for disabled children of their congregations.

By 1980, Evergreen had grown to serve 300 individuals with disabilities. In 1989, Evergreen made the decision to move from institutional to community settings because the organization felt it was important to help make the individuals they served feel like an active and contributing member of the community in which they lived.

Today, Evergreen offers community based services and is a provider in the field of developmental disabilities, serving over 1,000 individuals in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. To learn more about Evergreen Life Services, visit their website at www.evergreenls.org.

In addition to lunch, Timeless Café and Tearoom offers take-out and a dining area for meetings. The facility can also be rented.

To place an order or for more information call 299-3845.

 

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