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Good People Cafe opens in Grain Valley, employs people with disabilities

Posted at 5:30 AM, May 31, 2024

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — A nonprofit cafe with a mission to employ people with disabilities is now open in Grain Valley.

The Good People Cafe at its core employs good people. It is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, serving breakfast and lunch until 2 p.m.

Starting construction in the fall of 2023, they turned the former Mid-Continent Public Library into a restaurant.

“We're sitting at what used to be Pizza Hut furniture, there's some Buffalo Wild Wings furniture,” Faith United Methodist Church pastor Mike Cassidy said. “A lot of people have been donating different materials to make sure we can open the cafe on the right budget to be able to employ the people we want to employ.”

Their employees may have down syndrome, autism, or another form of intellectual or physical disability. The cafe was created after Faith United Methodist Church hosted evenings with Grain Valley’s Life Skills class and Friendship Club and saw a need for people with disabilities to have employment opportunities.

“A lot of them, it's their first job. With some of them, they've only done maybe just rolling forks and cleaning bathrooms. And I'm pushing them pretty hard. They're doing everything — taking orders, running food, cooking food, I mean everything,” cafe director Joey Schneider said.

Tyler Brandes is one of the new employees. He has Down Syndrome. Branded was very excited about that first paycheck.

“The Good People Cafe is a great cafe. We have good managers. We have good employees. We have Sam, Lanissa. We have good chefs that make really good food,” Brandes said.

The cafe accepts tips but they are considered a donation to the nonprofit mission overall. Cassidy said that is because some employees have to be on salary caps due to Social Security.

The Good People Cafe can also be rented out for events. Learn more on its website.