Greenery Café Brightens Spirits of Staff and Patrons

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by Maryjo Siergiej

Photo courtesy of Danbury Patch.

THE ATMOSPHERE of Danbury’s Greenery Café recalls a springtime walk in a park. Pictures of smiling faces adorn the walls and flower pots and watering cans are set on the tables. The joy of spring and opportunity also fills the workers at the café, who reap the benefits of their jobs.

Located at located at 115 Main Street, the Greenery Café  is run by managers Lori Tucker and Teri Feria and functions as a training facility for adults with disabilities who are over the age of 21. The Greenery Café opens doors for its workers, who wait tables and work in the kitchen. 12 of the cafe’s employees live in housing around Danbury, and their job tasks change each day, helping to  broaden their skills.

by Maryjo Siergiej

 


 

THE ATMOSPHERE of Danbury’s Greenery Café recalls a springtime walk in a park. Pictures of smiling faces adorn the walls and flower pots and watering cans are set on the tables. The joy of spring and opportunity also fills the workers at the café, who reap the benefits of their jobs.

Photo courtesy of Danbury Patch.Located at located at 115 Main Street, the Greenery Café  is run by managers Lori Tucker and Teri Feria and functions as a training facility for adults with disabilities who are over the age of 21. The café was founded in 1994 and is funded by the State of Connecticut Department of Developmental Services and Green Chimneys Children’s Services. Green Chimneys is a program based in Brewster, New York, which serves in helping support the futures of children. Like Green Chimneys, the Greenery Café opens doors for its workers, who wait tables and work in the kitchen. 12 of the cafe’s workers live in housing around Danbury, and their job tasks change each day, helping to  broaden their skills. Feria explains that the café gets the workers “ready for the community”.

Meals at the café can reach all appetites and tastes.  Everything is home-made,  and the meals come in a broad range of options, from the soup of the day to the Greek salad to the savory tuna melt, which is the meal this writer chose. Meals can also be ordered for take-out and senior citizens get ten percent off. The price is also a breath of fresh air; the most expensive option on the Greenery Café’s menu is four dollars. Judy, a worker, explained that the café is usually slow on Mondays and busy on Fridays. At the time of this writer’s visit on a Monday, the café, which has six tables, had three tables full of people.

 

The price is also a breath of fresh air; the most expensive option on the Greenery Café’s menu is four dollars.


 

Each of the workers at the Greenery Café come to work from a variety of housing environments, from personal houses, group homes and independent living facilities to the Southbury Training School. Tucker also works at the Training School, another Department of Developmental Services facility, which focuses on training clients for the workforce.

Patty, a worker at the café, states that her favorite part about the café is working with Terry. “I love it here,” she said in an interview.  Patty explained that she looks forward to coming to work at the café every day. Maria, another worker, agrees. “I like all my friends that I work with. I get along with them,” she stated.

The café is currently struggling financially and is in need of donations to keep afloat. Financial problems are not the only challenges that the café has faced, however. Tucker explains that one of the biggest challenges has been “dealing with client behaviors.” She finds that some of the behaviors and conditions, such as autism in some of the recent workers, have been quite challenging.

However, Tucker stresses that she enjoys working with the adults she trains. “We have wonderful, wonderful rapport with all of them, “ she stated. Feria has also found working at the café beneficial and has seen progress. “Everyone is treated equally,” she said. “Watching these guys thoughout the year, incredible.” The Greenery Café has undoubtedly touched lives in the long run.  

“I love being here every day. It’s where I belong,” remarked Judy.

 

The Greenery Café is open Monday through Friday from 11:30am to 1:30 pm.  For more information call the café at (203)791-9797.

 

 

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