Thieves Steal Coffee Cart Used to Help and Teach People With Disabilities

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A Torrance nonprofit that serves the disabled community is at a loss this Christmas after thieves last week stole a specialized coffee cart used for job skills training and as a place of employment for clients of the organization.

Scott Elliott, executive director of ICAN, or the California Abilities Network, said he felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach when he realized the specialized cart that plays an important role in the nonprofit was gone.

What hurts, Elliott said, aside from the property loss and that someone did this so close to Christmas, is that the cart provided so much for the people with disabilities who staffed the coffee cart.

Daisy Davila and about thirty others pick up real-world skills while working with the cart, which is often seen at public events. They interact with people, learn to make sales and become baristas. Some people have even parlayed their experience into jobs at coffee chains.

“it gives me empowerment. It gives me the opportunity to show the world who I am,” Davila said.

Last Thursday night, someone stole that from Davila.

Dane Wells, who was supposed to join her for a job serving a church event Christmas Eve, echoed her feelings. 

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“You need to tell Santa Claus to help us find it and get it back,” he said.

Elliott said the clients who work on the cart are paid for their work and he isn’t sure how they will be paid now.

“For many of our clients, they do live paycheck to paycheck. And this income they earn is the entirety of their income.”

“They won't get a paycheck, two weeks from now. Or we have to find other things for them to do,” he said.

Elliott said that combined with the trailer it was on, and the stuff inside, the cart's worth upward of $20,000.

But even that pales compared to the toll this has taken on Daisy, Dane and dozens of other baristas-in-training.

The group has set up a GoFundMe account to help raise funds to buy a new setup. If you would like to contribute, you can do so here.

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