CAMP HILL, Pa. — What started as a simple school project for two college students at Messiah University has turned into a life-changing passion.
“I had to write a business plan for a class, and we teamed up on this shared passion of anti-trafficking. I love coffee and it just naturally came about," said Rachel Beatty, one of the founders of Ruby Coffee & Co.
Rachel Ferrence and Beatty are opening Ruby Coffee & Co. with the purpose of hiring and teaching job skills to human trafficking survivors.
“That has been a population of people that I have loved to research and learn more about, and I think it’s something we can do a lot more to combat," said Ferrence.
They didn’t know their idea could become a reality until they presented it to Peace Promise, a local non-profit that works with and helps trafficking survivors.
“Very shortly after we met with them, the next day we toured this building, and it’s been a wild ride from there," said Ferrence.
Ferrence and Beatty say their goal is to break the cycle.
“We see a lot of times that it is within families, and it is just kind of passed down generation to generation, so we really want to reduce the re-entry rate of prostitution," said Beatty.
The founders say this is the first step for survivors to rebuild their life.
“The job is more than just a normal job in this case because it’s giving [victims] the ability to list employment when they’re applying for an apartment. It can be so much more than just a coffee shop job," said Beatty.
Ferrence and Beatty also hope the coffee shop will educate the community about the impact of human trafficking.
“This is a problem that we can have a hand in fixing and it doesn’t have to be this untouchable, scary thing," said Ferrence.
Ruby Coffee & Co will also be selling Soaps by Survivors, a product line of natural and organic bath & beauty products made by trafficking survivors.
They hope to open the business in the spring of 2023.