Yardi is committed to supporting the community in every city where our offices are housed. Each year, the company distributes philanthropic aid to organizations selected by its employees.
In 2021, Yardi offices supported more than 350 nonprofits worldwide. For the remainder of the year, we will be bringing you the stories of those organizations and insight into how they aid their communities.
Today, get to know Hugs Café in McKinney, Texas, which provides meaningful training and employment opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This year, seven-year-old Hugs Café is focusing its efforts on raising funds for a permanent training facility, Hugs Training Academy.
“This expansion will allow us to continue our mission and increase the number of skilled individuals we can provide the culinary and hospitality workforce,” said Ruth Thompson, Founder and Board President of Hugs Café.
“In addition, we will no longer have to say we have a wait list for admission into one of our programs. Previously our waitlist prevented us from accepting new individuals into our mission. This expansion will provide a consistent opportunity for others to come in and receive services.”
Thompson shared the story of participant Kathy, known as “Bread Queen” at Hugs Café.
“Before coming to work for Hugs Café, Kathy was working for a wine bottle company and her job was to put labels on the wine bottles. Due to Kathy’s Cerebral Palsy, this job was very challenging and not something she was able to do effectively. Kathy was allowed to sit at the workstation and be paid just like her peers, but she was unable to perform the task assigned and would leave work each day in tears,” Thompson shared.
“Now that Kathy has a meaningful job at Hugs Café, her day is filled with bustling activity, toasting our sandwich bread, and interacting with our eager customers. Kathy no longer has to feel defeated at her place of work. You will find her working her shift with an ear-to-ear smile that will keep you coming back for more.”
Funds from Yardi have helped provide the Hugs Café program at no cost to the individuals employed.
“Other programs in the area offer unpaid internships or volunteer opportunities, while we insist on providing competitive wages for the work our wonderful employees do,” Thompson explained. “Because of your support in 2021, we were able to provide 2,750 hours of paid meaningful wages to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The continued support of Yardi Systems allows our Hugs Café program to operate at maximum efficiency so our fundraising efforts can be focused on our expansion to Hugs Training Academy.”
Hugs Café hosts events throughout the year where volunteers can help, and also has positions for regular volunteers.
“Our staff continues to be blown away by the generosity of Yardi. It means so much to our employees that someone values the work that they do and the skills that they have,” Thompson said. “Your continued investment in our mission affirms to all of our employees that you believe in them, the work they do matters, and that others will continue to see them in this light. Thank you for being our cheerleader and supporter as we continue to grow our mission and impact in the community.”
Another way to support: purchase items from the café.
“Hugs Café has the best gifts! Think of us during the holidays for cookies and pies or get someone a local treat from your favorite social enterprise. Each item purchased reduces the amount of donations needed to support the program and it also keeps our staff busy filling orders,” Thompson noted.