TAMPA, Fla. — Mindi Vaughan is using gourmet coffee to help lift the place that lifted her.
The former 34-year-old heroin addict once fought to regain custody of her daughter. Now she leans on the front counter of the Portico Cafe with sweet-smelling bags of coffee all around her.
Vaughan used to be a barista at the cafe. She is now the Operations Manager.
"This place changed my life," Vaughan says with a smile.
The hip downtown Tampa coffee shop and meeting space is a nonprofit mission of the Hyde Park United Methodist Church.
It employs and supports people transitioning from homelessness and drug addiction.
It also funds support programs for amazing success stories like Vaughan who deserve a second chance.
The pandemic forced the popular food and coffee spot to close in June. There is no set date to reopen.
"We're waiting for crowds to return to downtown Tampa," says Vaughan.
So now what?
Keep selling coffee to support the mission, to support her friends — but with a twist.
Bags of Portico's popular gourmet java is now available via pickup, local delivery and shipping. It is also available via subscription service.
Vaughan turned into a sort of coffee mini mogul. She is bagging and sealing it herself.
Whatever it takes, until the Portico's doors swing open again.
"It's very important for me to keep this place open," Vaughan says. "I want to get more people on the right track."