A passionate purpose put on hold by a global pandemic
Updated: May 26
An adversary to the elderly. The antagonist of auto-immune deficiencies. A promoter of cosmopolitan chaos. The worldwide pandemic currently sweeping across the globe has played many roles.
First and foremost, however, this grim reaper has been christened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as COVID-19, an acute respiratory illness disrupting people’s lives on an international tirade.
Tina Kadolph, a co-founder of Palate Coffee Brewery, has witnessed firsthand how relentless the pandemic truly is.
Located in Sanford, Florida, Kadolph and her family have experienced grievous economic setbacks, the latter stemming from the disease’s tendency to sabotage the social, political and financial aspects of everyday life.
“People are hanging onto their money because they are losing their jobs,” Tina said.
Initially identified as the “SARS-CoV-2 virus” (i.e. coronavirus) in the city of Wuhan, China, this highly infectious microbe is spreading exponentially through person-to-person contact.
According to the findings of researchers and CDC officials, person-to-person includes (but is not limited to) physical touch, contamination of widely used surfaces and airborne contagions existing within close proximity of an already-infected individual.
While this malicious malady has caused thousands of deaths around the world, it stealthily evades justice and continues to run rampant as researchers frantically search far and wide for a vaccine.
In addition to claiming 6,600 victims worldwide and infecting an estimated 167,500, the coronavirus has also been held responsible for closing international borders, evicting college students from their campuses and shutting down corporate and privately-owned businesses.
For some, the COVID-19 pandemic is a mere financial setback they can easily recover from. But for others, it could mean an early end to the passions they’ve dedicated their lives to pursuing.
Despite its popular reputation with the local residents of Sanford, Florida, Palate Coffee Brewery is one of the many small-town businesses suffering from the financial devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.
Originally founded by Tina and Carl Kadolph in September of 2015, the beloved coffee shop is more than just your run-of-the-mill java stop; it’s an establishment dedicated to ending human trafficking around the world.
Working alongside her parents, Katrina Lemmon and her husband, Charles, pour their hearts and souls into the local coffee shop, an idea born within their family’s partnering organization, Love Missions.
Established as a nonprofit organization, Love Missions (a 501c3 founded in 2000), the idea for the now esteemed brewery was inspired by the personal testimony of Tina Kadolph.
As a human trafficking survivor, Tina personally understands the terror, trauma and inhumane practices ultimately associated with the global franchise.
Rescued at the age of 20 by her [now] husband, Carl, and fueled by her constantly growing faith in Christ, Tina has used her story of redemption to raise public awareness about crimes committed against women and children, the latter serving as the very reason for Palate’s existence.
Rachel Sammons, a volunteer/employee of Palate over the last three years, is one of the shop’s many people to be inspired by the founder’s testimony and compassion for missions.
In an article Sammons wrote for the brewery’s personal website, she emphasized one particular question she voices to nearly every customer she comes into contact with: “Do you know the story of this coffee shop?”
In response to the looks of curiosity her question often receives, Sammons responds with a steadfast answer.
“Well,” she says, “all the profits here go to fight human trafficking.”
In regards to Palate and its affiliation with the couple’s mission-based organization, the brewery donates 100% of its profits to Love Missions, which are proceeds that helped establish the Sunflower House, a safe home for abused and trafficked girls.
Stationed in Guyana, the nation currently ranked with the highest suicide rate in the world, the Sunflower House serves as a light amidst the darkness of a country known for its high-functioning human trafficking market.
This being the case, the compassionate organization relies heavily on the generosity of donors, it’s talented baristas and the business of local coffee lovers.
In an effort to act in accordance with the prevention protocol issued by the CDC, Palate has followed suit with mandated social distancing requirements.
The most critical steps of the protocol include reducing the number of staff scheduled, prohibiting customers from physically occupying the establishment, removing chairs from the dining areas and only serving food and specialty drink orders to-go.
While these changes are necessary precautions all local businesses were ordered to take part in, they've done far more than prevent the spread of the disease; they’ve prevented customers from coming to the shop altogether.
“People are not coming in. The government is telling us to stay 6 feet away from each other and practice social distancing,” Tina said. “Our sales are less than half of what we would normally be doing.”
In most scenarios, a coffee shop is meant to be a place of rest, relaxation and conversation. If regular customers don’t seek out a standard java house for its well-known coffee, they more than likely go to the establishment for its welcoming atmosphere and friendly faces.
This reasoning leads many small business owners to ask the fundamental question: How is the coronavirus going to impact their establishments?
If the CDC has mandated businesses such as Palate to remove their seating accommodations and promote to-go only orders, how will their regulars be able to enjoy their normal coffee experience?
If guests have no place to rest and relax, is there any point in choosing coffee from a privately owned business over a corporate competitor like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?
Furthermore, if local residents are mandated to “social distance” themselves from society in favor of staying in their homes, who will bring business to the philanthropic establishment?
If guests stop visiting the local brewery, how long can the Kadolph’s afford to keep it open? And if they can’t, what is going to happen to the individuals ultimately impacted by their missions organization?
“People are not sure what the future holds for them, which drastically affects what comes to us, which is going to affect how we are able to help others in our community,” Tina said.
Like the many people contemplating how the COVID-19 crisis is devastating all aspects of the local/national economy (resulting in mass terminations and bankrupt businesses across the country), Tina continues to earnestly pray that the situation will take a turn for the better.
By Brenna Brown