More than just coffee: Nonprofit mobile coffee cart offers air hugs and joy

Bringing joy each week is one local nonprofit’s mission.

Tuesday, FOX 5 shared Extra Special People’s mission. Now, here’s more about ESP’s sister nonprofit Java Joy.

“Good morning, have a nice day, and sometimes I give them a hug.”

That’s how Megan McCutcheon greets people when she works as a barista -- or a joy-rista, rather.

Megan McCutcheon (Java Joy)

Megan and Erica (Java Joy)

The 36-year-old works at Java Joy, a nonprofit that employs adults with developmental disabilities.

It is a mobile coffee cart that does neighborhood pop-ups each week.

“We serve bagels, chicken biscuits and Sunny D orange juice,” she said.

Java Joy is the sister nonprofit of Extra Special People, which held its last drive-by parade Tuesday to bring even more joy to the community.

The Athens manager of Java Joy says the two organizations are a “hug business.” Of course, with social distancing, they now give air hugs instead.

“They’re used to getting out, so being able to help them get back on a schedule and being able to see them besides via a screen is just super nice,” said Erica Andrews, Java Joy’s Athens city manager and national coordinator.

It is also an opportunity for Megan and her friends to earn money.

“They’re humans just like everybody else, and they enjoy making the connections and getting to know people," said Pam McCutcheon, Megan's mom. “It opened up the door being one of the older ESP-ers, it gave potential to be out in the public and earn money.”

By 7 a.m. Megan is ready and excited to start her shift.

“My favorite memory is 'just show up and don’t be late,'” Megan said.

Megan and Erica (Java Joy)

Java Joy is hiring adults with developmental disabilities in the Atlanta and Rome areas. The Watkinsville-based nonprofit also has locations in Birmingham, Alabama, and San Francisco, California.

More information can be found on their website java-joy.org.