Cedar farmer Murray McNabb showed his support for Coco Café by carving its logo into his corn maze.

Cedar farmer Murray McNabb showed his support for Coco Café by carving its logo into his corn maze.

Workers with disability receive support at cafe

NANAIMO – Coco Cafe celebrated its second year of operation in June.

Something is brewing in a Yellow Point cornfield.

Inspired by the community work of his local coffee shop, farmer Murray McNab carved a giant image of the Coco Café’s logo into his cornfield to show his support.

The large, steaming coffee cup has become the symbol of the Cedar-based café that provides a supportive place for its workers with developmental disabilities to interact with the community.

McNab’s corn was recently featured as one of the menu items for a summer wedding catered by the café. Use of local ingredients is another draw for customers who are attracted by the social objectives of the café on Cedar Road.

The café celebrated its second year of operation in June.  Another milestone was having the first employee with a developmental disability transitioning into full time employment at the café.  These achievements have not been without challenges.

Trish Johnston, one of the café’s founders, notes that Coco’s staffing costs are significantly higher than a regular café – often more than double.

“We exist to provide opportunities for our community members who face challenges due to developmental disabilities to work, and be a recognized part of our community,” Johnston said.

“The more income we can generate the more work opportunities we are able to provide.”

The café has identified catering as key to helping achieve the goal of financial sustainability without having to rely on any external funding.  The catering also creates a platform for Coco’s goals of inclusion and visibility within the community.

The café provides onsite catering and deliveries in the Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum areas.

Catering menus are available on the website at http://cedar

opportunities.coop, e-mail at coco_cafe@shaw.ca or by calling 250-323-2223.