Wildflyer Coffee looking for permanent space to expand reach to homeless youth

A Twin Cities nonprofit that provides job opportunities for homeless youth is looking for a home of its own.

Since launching two years ago, Wildflyer Coffee has had an impact on the lives of nearly a dozen young people. Now, they are focused on expanding their reach.

Carley Kammerer and Ben Griswold are the founders of Wildflyer Coffee.

“When we started in 2017, we started as a mobile cart, we built it ourselves, pretty small-scale,” said Kammerer.

The Minneapolis nonprofit provides job opportunities for homeless youth. Through the nonprofit, they are serving up cups of joe at metro area farmers markets at least two days a week.

“We kind of wanted to become a first stopping point where we are able to give people a chance,” said Griswold.

It’s estimated that in Minnesota, 6,000 youth experience homelessness every year.

“If our vision is to truly end homelessness, then we need to provide the hours and the space for more youth and do more in-depth services than we can provide right now,” said Kammerer.

The social workers are kicking off a fundraising effort to purchase a permanent home. Wildflyer Coffee is working to raise $165,000. A permanent location would allow the nonprofit to triple its workforce.

“I strongly believe that our piece is to equip youth with the skills they need to stay, to get a job that they like,” said Kammerer.

Aza Owens spent years living on the streets.

“It’s like a constant fight,” said Owens. “It’s a survival skill, basically.”

He's one of nearly a dozen young people who have found purpose in serving others.

“It makes me want to start my own food truck,” he said. “Just to start my business up right now, just so I can have a more stable income.”

Helping create a pathway out of homelessness through lattes and cappuccinos, Kammerer and Griswold hope to inspire even more teens to chase after their dreams.

“At the end of the day that’s what it’s about; it's creating this opportunity,” said Griswold.

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