CUPs: More than just a coffee shop

Courtesy of Baltimore Sun

Holly Gray and husband Brian (right) Courtesy of Baltimore Sun

Imagine if there was a coffee shop in one of Baltimore’s disinvested neighborhoods, that took at-risk youth and gave them an opportunity to hold a steady, responsible job with onsite training in money management and life skills…

Well, there is such a place and it’s called CUPs (Creating Unlimited Possibilities). Situated in the once-booming Hollins Market neighborhood, CUPs serves a surplus of thirsty, caffeine-deficient locals and students, while also providing jobs for the kids in the community, mostly underprivileged youth with troubled pasts. The director and founder, Holly Gray, was once a store sales manager for the retailer, New York and Co. and when the economy tanked, decided she’d head back to school. Written up as a business plan for her Interdisciplinary major at University of Baltimore, CUPs evolved from a simple school project to a successful non-profit, workforce development social enterprise

Having just celebrated its one year anniversary, CUPs has exceeded expectations, according to Gray. With help from her husband, Gray has created quite a buzz in the Baltimore community with a formula that serves a strong social justice mission.

This Saturday from 11AM to 2PM, CUPs will hold its annual fundraiser breakfast and auction, COFFE & A CAUSE at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Student Center on Lombard St. For just $28 you get a full brunch with coffee and cocktails, while enjoying live music by Karter Jaymes. Throughout the event there will be a silent auction, all proceeds going to CUPs, of course. Head to cupscoffeehouse.eventbrite.com for more info on the event.

If you want to read more about CUPs mission, head to their website, cupscoffeehouse.com.

– TD

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