SunSations

House Blend Cafe

"Eat Good. Do Good."

By Rachel Galvin

Josh and Kelly Taylor have been serving up more than just food at their restaurant, House Blend Cafe. For the last nine years, they have been giving 100 percent of their net profits to local and global projects, including raising more than $20,000 to help feed the hungry.

Josh Taylor says, “It started as a creative way to see community happen in the way God intended. The restaurant is not just about raising funds, not just so we can serve, but to encourage others to get the focus off themselves and to serve too. A lot of folks are regulars because of the vision. We are not just a lemonade stand that they have to suffer through, but our food and drink are excellent and we have great service. We are passionate about caring.”

Josh, who had a background working in restaurants, says this is something he had always dreamt about and when someone was interested in him starting it, he jumped at the chance. It is a small operation with only three locations. The main restaurant is in Ocoee (10730 W. Colonial Dr., 34761) and there are two other locations within Toyota dealerships in Claremont and Orlando, Florida.

Globally, they focus on everything from organizations that provide clean drinking water to helping stop human trafficking. Locally, they are working on feeding people through the creation of an aquaponics farm. They also partner with a non-profit organization called Matthew’s Hope in West Orange County that helps the homeless. In addition, they spend a lot of time mentoring kids and families in a low income neighborhood in Winter Garden, Florida.

“We do what we can to mentor and encourage them,” said Josh about working with kids. “Every summer, we also have a weeklong camp for kids and teach them life lessons and Bible lessons.”

Executive Director of Matthew’s Hope, Karen Gowing, says of the Kellys, “They are one of the most community conscious businesses we have ever worked with. They help in any way they can.”

She explains that Matthew’s Hope provides hygiene products, showers, laundry and other basic services to the homeless, who can earn points toward the purchase of tents and other items. The Kellys began helping to offer wraps for the homeless for lunch. Today, Matthew’s Hope offers three meals a day and the Kellys continue to assist with that, along with other companies. The couple also helped to cater meals for staff members and people who bought tickets at a recent fundraiser. Josh has even become a board member of Matthew’s Hope and the group has their meetings at his restaurant.

Gowing adds, “They have hired some of our “guests” [at the restaurant], giving them a shot at working. But the biggest thing they do is putting pictures up and a video screen about Matthew’s Hope to give awareness and they have a donation box. Every so often, Josh brings the money to us.”

Besides working with these various groups, House Blend Cafe has different events to bring the community together, such as Cars and Coffee, which has brings classic car owners and car lovers together at the Toyota dealership.

To find out more about the vision behind House Blend Cafe and the partners they assist, visit the restaurant’s website at www.houseblendcafe.com.- DUO