Coffee cart offers perks for students, staff

Eleanor Arpino, student Bella Testa, Sue Svelnis and Samantha Babineau roll out the new coffee cart.

Cardinal Cushing Centers students are making it easier than ever for staff to get fueled up with caffeine. Thanks to a new mobile coffee cart, vocational students are able to bring coffee, iced tea, and baked goods from the Cushing Café directly to offices.

“It’s another opportunity for employment training in a safe, controlled, on-site environment, and it’s a perk for staff,” said Eleanor Arpino, Cushing’s sustainability coordinator.

A pilot program started in October, before the cart was purchased. Vocational students would head to the finance department once a week, deliver menus, take orders, prepare the orders at the café, and deliver them.

“I believe the coffee cart pilot program has been a wonderful learning experience for all those involved,” said Marian Macuch, Cushing’s accounts payable coordinator. “During the six or so weeks our department was the testing ground, I found myself both proud and humbled by how well it was working. I watched as the service and procedures were refined and improved each week — along with figuring out the tech. It was a nice break on Thursday afternoons.”

In January and February, students traveled with the cart, taking payments and filling orders on the spot. The cart was fully funded by a grant from the Quincy-based Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, which provides charitable support for Massachusetts organizations that either teach mechanical arts, provide employment opportunities for the disabled, or use vocational training and workshops as a key part of their programs.

“I’m so impressed by the commitment of the students, and how quickly they learned the tasks,” said Arpino. “There’s a huge sense of pride in doing the work of fulfilling orders and being rewarded with tips. It’s really been wonderful. A few students even became ‘the teachers’ to their other classmates.”

Arpino said the café and vocational education teams are working together on a plan to roll out the coffee cart program on a more permanent basis, which will require the collaboration of many. The plan is to also explore the potential of developing a training curriculum and job opportunity for Cushing’s adult population. Arpino hopes that they will even be able to take the coffee cart to local events and festivals in the community.

About Cushing Centers

Since 1947, Cushing's caring community has been a place where exceptional individuals of all ages and abilities have found possibility, opportunity, and hope, receiving support to achieve independence and meaningful relationships across home, work, school, and leisure.

Stay in the Know!

Join the Cushing Email Newsletter.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.