CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Rescue Mission has been helping people with addiction and homelessness for over 80 years.

Now, their new Community Matters Cafe in the Third Ward will give them a place to work as well.

It may look like a normal coffee shop, but it's more than the coffee and the food they're serving. It's about helping those in the community be a part of the community -- people who are battling addiction, homelessness. They come to the Charlotte Rescue Mission and get to work here at the Community Matters Cafe.

A freshly brewed cup of coffee can be a good morning wake up, but the meaning behind it at this cafe is about way more than a caffeine boost for Kent White, a Rescue Mission graduate.

"I was pretty much homeless, having lived a life, you know, caught up in addiction," White said. "I quite simply needed somewhere to recover and heal and God led me to the doors of the Charlotte Rescue Mission."

He spent 40 years in and out of jail. When he was out, he couldn't handle it and would relapse.

White showed up at the Charlotte Rescue Mission in June of 2018 and has been sober ever since.

Now, he's ready for a fresh start at the brand new Community Matters Cafe. 

The Cafe is located in a 100-year-old spindle factory — now a place of growth and inspiration. 

"What was destined for demolition, has now been restored -- which is really what we do as a core at the Charlotte Rescue Mission," said Ed Price, the Director of Life Skills Operations for Charlotte Rescue Mission.

Those who graduate from the Rescue Mission's 120-day program can then spend four months working at the cafe to transition back into society, learn life skills, and be a part of the community.

"It's about starting a new life," Regina said. "Doing things different than I did before."

The café officially opens Tuesday, April 9. It's open for visitors Monday through Saturday.

"I felt like God had preserved my life for a higher purpose," White said. "So I'm just pretty much on the path that He wants me to be on."

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