10 years at the Refuge Cafe

On Nov. 29, regular guests and local partners, alike, joined members of the Refuge team at a special open house to celebrate 10 years at the Refuge Cafe. Since the 30th was my last day at the Refuge and the Refuge Cafe, the open house also served as a send-off party for me. It was certainly bittersweet on my end, as the work there means a lot to me and so do the team that runs it and the guests that visit the Cafe three weekdays a week!

I had the idea for starting the Cafe in 2013, around the time the Refuge was displaced by flooding from Broomfield’s Crescent Grange. Soon after the Refuge community moved into the facility at 11600 Quay St., Suite 200, that fall, a group of Refuge advocates and I, started a one-day-a-week-open-to-the-public effort we called “Open Space.” We renamed it the Refuge Cafe a few years later.

From its beginnings, the Cafe has filled an important niche in Broomfield and the North Metro Denver area, as a place open to all without residency or income requirements, where guests can experience a safe space to rest, eat, shower, get help with basic needs and supplies, find referrals to local services, and talk to a friendly advocate about their circumstances or life in general or the weather or whatever.

Together, we saw the work grow to function as a day shelter for people experiencing homelessness, housing stability and other hardships, and together we saw the needs around us grow and grow and grow, far beyond our ability to meet them. Still, we weathered COVID and we managed to stay afloat our 10th anniversary, a true milestone.

May the Cafe flourish in its next 10 years of operation and beyond!

See below for a PDF version of the Refuge Cafe slideshow shown during the Nov. 29 open house.

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