Higher Grounds

Drink Coffee, Do Good

A new coffee shop in the Heights helps support victims of human trafficking.

By Andrea Siso October 16, 2015

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A 2nd Cup is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

A new non-profit will open the doors to its new permanent home in the Heights this Saturday, Oct. 17. A 2nd Cup, the brainchild of teacher-turned-activist Erica Raggett, will aid victims of human trafficking by functioning as a sustainable, full-service coffee shop. That’s right: coffee shop. With coffee sourced from local roaster Boomtown Coffee, specialty drinks crafted with house-made (and fair-trade certified) syrups and a food menu that features quirky plays on coffeehouse classics (e.g. a mouthwatering grilled cheese stuffed with prosciutto, manchego cheese and fig and rosemary jam), customers at A 2nd Cup can satisfy their taste buds while supporting a critical cause.

"Many people don’t realize that human trafficking happens in the US—and, specifically, in Houston," Raggett explains. "I-10 is actually one of the main highways traffickers use to move victims from place to place…and Houston typically [receives] one of the highest [amounts] of calls from the Anti-Human Trafficking Hotline in the country. It is important for Houstonians to know that trafficking is happening to a high extent—not only in the world in general—but also in our city." 

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Houston’s status as a trafficking hub marks Raggett’s initiative with urgent necessity. "A 2nd Cup will [serve] as a unique venue and touch-point to help educate people about this issue," she says. "The more people know about it, the less likely it will occur." The shop plans to raise awareness by connecting customers to information on the issue and to opportunities to volunteer with local anti-trafficking organizations. Furthermore, the coffeehouse’s profits will go towards funding after-care support for trafficking victims—including housing, counseling, mentoring and job-skills workshops. A 2nd Cup will even offer anti-trafficking organizations a back-of-house meeting space to use in their 5,000-square-foot shop.

When asked how she came up with the name “A 2nd Cup,” Raggett explains that it came to her eight years ago while joking with a friend about starting a coffee shop. “She’d said she wouldn’t need to get coffee at the shop, since she’d already have a cup at home. I told her, ‘You could always come here for a second cup.’ But, now,” she says, “the name has taken on a whole new meaning. We believe that all survivors of human trafficking deserve to have a second cup. A second chance at life.”

A 2nd Cup, 1111 E 11th St., 832-962-7656, a2ndcup.com


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