UMOM Day Center is Arizona’s largest family homeless shelter. Their Encore Fellow, Carrie Whitten-Simmons, used her marketing and media expertise to help craft the tagline Helpings Café—an idea to relate every purchase at the café straight back to the services it supports. Ideas like that, together with a robust media network and years of marketing and branding experience, made for a wildly successful grand opening.
Carrie’s marketing and media expertise freed up UMOM’s development team to focus on other aspects of launching this vital social enterprise and provided outside perspective and justification for the effort to blend a workforce training program with a self-sustaining café and market for the community. Located in a ‘food desert’—a neighborhood where fresh food is hard to find—the Helpings Café accepts SNAP benefits and certainly offers great food to eat, but there’s more to its mission than that. Every day UMOM clients receive hands-on job training, helping them gain new skills as baristas and in food service.