Raleigh, N.C. (March 3, 2020) – Cari Roccaro spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon making coffee and meeting fans at the 321 Coffee stand in the Market Shoppes of the State Farmers Market. Though not her typical weekend scene – she’s a bit more accustomed to fast-paced, high-energy game days with the NC Courage – this East Islip, N.Y. native was excited to engage with the North Carolina community she’s grown to love here in the Triangle.
“I wanted to start getting more involved in the community,” said Roccaro, who’s entering her third season with the Courage in 2020. “I wanted to start giving back more and I got connected through our staff with this coffee shop. They seemed pretty excited about having me here, working with me and getting to know me.”
321 Coffee is a local nonprofit coffee shop staffed by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Starting as an idea between four NC State students, it’s grown from pop-ups around Raleigh into a permanent fixture of the Farmers Market, giving 321 Coffee a regular presence in the community.
With their growing business, 321 Coffee aims to open a brick-and-mortar storefront in the Raleigh area this year. As part of this initiative, they have created a Celebrity Barista campaign, with local celebrities like ABC11 anchor Steve Daniels and Maggie Kane, the founder of A Place at the Table, Raleigh’s first pay-what-you-can restaurant.
Roccaro was their latest Celebrity Barista, learning the ins and outs of how 321 Coffee operates from one of their permanent employees, Carly.
“I think it’s so fun,” said Roccaro, “I’ve been getting to know them and I feel like this is a place now that I’m going to want to come back and spend more time at which is really cool.”
On an afternoon filled with laughs, pictures and surprise visits from teammate Denise O’Sullivan and soccer icon Heather O’Reilly, Roccaro’s shift attracted attention from friends, family and fans alike. Each cup of coffee purchased during her shift supported 321’s efforts to open their storefront and included a Cari Roccaro playing card.
“Our whole goal is $250,000, and at the current moment we’re about $200,000 to our goal, which is awesome because we’ve only been doing it for about three to four months.” said acting 321 Coffee Chief Operations Officer Liam Dao.
Keep an eye out for future Celebrity Baristas at 321 Coffee from North Carolina FC!