Battling Addiction with ‘Hope & Coffee’ in Tamaqua

TAMAQUA, Pa. -- A new coffee shop with a unique mission is opening up in Schuylkill County.

Hope & Coffee in Tamaqua had a soft opening on Monday. The coffee shop plans to help recovering drug addicts.

"People are noticing us and walking by and seeing our balloons out and seeing what they're all about," said manager Loren Collura.

Hope & Coffee held a soft opening to introduce their customers to the mission of their shop, which is to help fight the stigma around drug addiction.

"There isn't anywhere that people can feel comfortable, a substance-free environment that is nonjudgmental, that they feel comfortable and happy to go to, feel like they're at home," Collura said.

All of the coffee shop's employees are either recovering drug addicts or know someone who is struggling with addiction.

Steve Schickram is 288 days into his recovery.

"It felt like the position opened up right as I was going into recovery. I had an incident and I ended up in the hospital for a while and then came out and had nowhere to go, trying to get jobs," Schickram said.

Employees say the coffee shop was busy for the soft opening.

Cindy White, a local pastor, stopped in for a cup.

"When I heard about them trying to open this shop, every time I drove by, I was praying for it, surrounding it with love. The moment I walked in, I just knew this is exactly what our town needed," said Pastor Cindy White, Zion Evangelical Church.

"It's been a long time coming and I don't mean that in a bad way because Tamaqua has been doing a lot of things, but I think this is a piece of the puzzle I think was missing," Schickram said.

Hope & Coffee's official grand opening will be held on July 19, with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.