Non-Profit Cafe Funds Addiction Treatment In New Jersey

By Victoria Kim 08/03/17

Alongside a fresh and nutritious menu, the cafe offers a variety of opportunities to those in the local recovery community. 

 customers enjoying drinks inside Enlightened Cafe
Photo via Facebook

The Enlightened Cafe is bringing addiction recovery face-to-face with the community of Ventnor City, New Jersey. All profits from the non-profit cafe, located near Atlantic City, go to fund scholarships for those who need help affording treatment. 

“There’s this stigma attached to addiction. This place really breaks the mold of that stigma and serves as a place for the public and people in recovery,” said Sam Loyle, an employee at Enlightened who has been sober for more than a year. “We get to tell people about the cause for all this, the passion we have and the purpose for it.”

The other half of the 6410 Ventnor Avenue address is a recovery center expected to open by the end of the summer. According to the Press of Atlantic City, it will offer peer-to-peer recovery support, 12-step meetings, family support groups, and yoga and meditation classes.

The cafe serves up drinks and food made with local produce grown at the Hansen Foundation’s Hope Farm in nearby Galloway Township. Nutrition is a major factor of a balanced recovery, says Jennifer Hansen of the Hansen Foundation, whose family has funded detox centers, treatment programs, and housing opportunities throughout South Jersey.

Enlightened Solutions clients are taught about nutrition as part of their treatment, said Hansen. The cafe takes this a step further by being a source of fresh food to fuel clients’ recovery. “When they get out of treatment, they don’t have many places to go to get that kind of organic food at an affordable price,” said Hansen.

Hansen, who has been in long-term recovery from heroin addiction for more than 20 years, understands the importance of offering opportunities to the newly sober and the cafe allows her to do this. Some of the alumni from the Hansen's treatment program are offered jobs at the cafe. Former clients even helped put the cafe together.

“When you see someone get out of treatment, they really need to be working immediately for their recovery,” said Hansen. “When they get here to work, they’ve really come full circle.”

“If it wasn’t for these programs and the scholarship, I really don’t think I’d be alive,” said Loyle. “There’s really a heart behind this place. Addiction is everywhere, it doesn’t discriminate. This cafe, it’s everything to me. Here, it’s all about positive vibes.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr