Melly’s Cafe opens in Whitby with a dream of empowering adults with disabilities


Published October 18, 2022 at 12:38 pm

A new not-for-profit café and market store in Whitby opened its doors to the community Saturday with beautifully crafted hot and cold drinks, freshly prepared goods and a marketplace stocked with unique finds

The best part? Your donations and purchases at this non-profit café will support advancing opportunities and empowering the dreams of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Welcome to Melly’s, a coffeehouse with a conscience, as well as a talented team of bakers and recipe-makers.

The café, noted Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull, who was at Saturday’s grand opening of the café at 1022 Brock St. S., celebrates “all abilities” in an inclusive community-driven workplace. “It’s amazing to see the power of social innovation enhancing inclusion here in our community.”

The non-profit, named for Melanie Ruttle, a woman with Down Syndrome who works at the café, offers training to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and jobs to the graduates. Those graduates work in various capacities in the venture, from cleaning and greeting customers to baking and dreaming up recipes for tasty treats like apple pumpkin muffins, brownies and cookies to sell at the café.

“We’re very passionate about each person having agency over their life, which extends to our training program,” Melly’s said in a statement. “We deliver 16 modules throughout the program, but each person is responsible for choosing one specific module each day that they want to work on.”

Staff members also write a personal goal for the week or month and the company uses the feedback to determine what’s working, what’s not, and how they can improve.

“This has been such an integral part of how we grow and build a program that serves each person to the very best of our ability.”

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month, with a goal of promoting employment inclusion for people with disabilities and to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities.

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