Heights coffee shop fights against human trafficking

HOUSTON – It takes about three minutes to make a mochanut coffee at A 2nd Cup, but earlier today it only took seconds for countless lives to be changed.

“A 2nd Cup, you are the $100,000 winner from Reliant Gives,” president of NRG Retail and Reliant Elizabeth Killinger announced.

“I feel like my mind just kind of went blank, like ‘waaa.’ I can’t believe this is happening,” Erica Raggett said.

The journey to this moment began 6 1/2 years ago for Raggett. She was a teacher in Houston when she heard a presentation on human trafficking at her church.

“My mind was blown and I was horrified and outraged and … I heard stats, like the average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12 to 14 years old. I was, ‘Those are the kids that I’m teaching,’” said Raggett. “I want to do something. I want to be part of the solution.”

So she founded “A 2nd Cup.”

What began as a pop-up coffee shop on the street found a home in the Heights in late 2015. It’s helped attract others with the same passion such as Alyse Bordelon.

“A lot of people come in here not knowing that it’s a nonprofit, not knowing that all of their resources go towards fighting human trafficking. They think it’s just a coffee shop,” Bordelon said.

In fact, that was Bordelon’s story in January. Now, she volunteers at the shop at least twice a week and was the Reliant employee who nominated A 2nd Cup to receive the $100,000 grant. It’s money that will help launch their nonprofit coffee shop and culinary training program for survivors.

“I’m very excited to support those survivors in getting jobs that they get to keep that are going to lift them into independence,” Bordelon said.

“The idea that we can help them add a program that helps train people who are former victims of human trafficking so that they can develop skills and transition to a life that anyone would want to have, it’s just really amazing,” Killinger said.

“Our logo is a phoenix because we really think that they can rise and do something beautiful,” Raggett said.

If you don’t like coffee but still want to support A 2nd Cup, then you’re in luck.

Local Fare for Local Freedom: A Foodie-Friendly Fundraiser is taking place at A 2nd Cup on June 4 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.