Mission Possible Cafe Helps People Overcome Homelessness, Addiction

Published: Friday, December 22, 2017 - 3:51pm
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The Phoenix Rescue Mission has opened a new restaurant in downtown Phoenix. It's called Mission Possible Cafe and, no, your receipt doesn’t automatically self destruct after you’ve eaten.

On the surface, it’s a normal cafe, serving southwestern style breakfast and lunch.

But behind the counter, the staff is largely comprised of folks trying to overcome homelessness, addiction and trauma in order to make a new beginning. They do this through vocational training that the Phoenix Rescue Mission provides. That vocational training can be kind of intense.

Katie Casteel is a college student at Grand Canyon University and a supervisor at the cafe. She says that before you learn on the job skills, “they basically cut you off from the rest of the world. They take your phone. You can’t talk to anybody. That part of the program I wanna say goes for six or seven months."

After that, “work therapy” begins, when participants can learn practical vocational skills. That’s where the Cafe comes in.

Brandon Luciano is a sous chef at the cafe. He started the program a year ago and says it turned his life around when he was struggling with substance abuse.

“I was spiritually, emotionally and physically bankrupt. I was 140 pounds. You looking at me now, I’m 190 so you can imagine it was pretty intense," Luciano said.

Brandon worked his way through the program and is now helping others working at the cafe.

“For these rough, tough, beefy looking dudes you know, it can break them down and make them realize that there is people who care about them. Those are some of the most important moments that I still seek today," Luciano said.

If all goes well, those moments don’t stop as workers graduate from the program. Hopefully, like Luciano, better off than when they entered.

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