At Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), something new is brewing – literally. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, October 24, BCH introduced its new public coffee shop — The Mill: Coffee & Community. It is a fitting name for the new shop as it is located at Mills Home, the nonprofit’s oldest location and home for its statewide headquarters in Thomasville.
“The idea is to have people come to The Mill and be on our campus because this is about community. The idea of ‘community’ is what we want to emphasize,” said BCH president/ CEO Michael C. Blackwell. “We are Thomasville’s oldest continuing business, and we have watched our city continue to grow throughout the decades.”
A staple of Thomasville since its founding in 1885, BCH serves children who have often been removed from their families’ custody for their safety. Throughout the decades, BCH has expanded its services throughout the Thomasville area and beyond. The nonprofit operates in more than 35 North Carolina communities, locations in South Carolina, and in Guatemala serving indigenous children.
BCH now offers services to intellectually/developmentally disabled adults, single mothers, community families, and the aging population. Last year, BCH impacted more than 156,000 lives.
“Thank you for the help you provide for our community. What this campus and what these folks at Baptist Children’s Homes do for our community is amazing, ” said Keith Tobin, President of the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce. Tobin, Thomasville mayor Raleigh York, other local dignitaries and community friends attended the ribbon-cutting event.
“The Mill is exciting because it not only serves this campus, but it serves our citizens as well,” continued Tobin.
Utilizing the former Robert Idol Child Care Center, whose Weekday Education classes for community children have been folded into the Fleshman-Pratt Education Center across campus, The Mill provides indoor and outdoor seating as well as access to an expansive, fully-fenced children’s playground perfect for families. Blackwell sees the spacious outdoor area as a perfect place for home school groups, Bible study groups and stay-at-home families.
“Being that we are Baptist Children’s Homes, it was vital that we have a component for boys and girls,” explained Blackwell. “It is about providing an experience that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.”
As with all of its endeavors, BCH sees The Mill as an extension of its services.
“We want to have some of the children growing up here to have a place to work,” said Keith Henry, BCH Chief Operating Officer. “We want it to be a place where some of our intellectually/developmentally disabled adults come to learn job skills.”
The Mill’s public grand opening was Tuesday, October 25. Its hours are Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. In addition to its coffee menu, The Mill offers pastries and other assorted locally baked goodies.
Written by Blake Ragsdale, Managing Editor of Charity & Children