Elevate Branson celebrated the re-opening of Branson and their new partnership with Cedar Creek Coffee and Creations by serving 300 meals during a free cookout May 20.

Elevate Branson Executive Director Bryan Stallings said they decided to put the event together in recognition of Branson re-opening and people heading back to work.

“We wanted to give people the option to come through and just get a hamburger,” said Stallings. “We’ve got some food from Convoy of Hope that was donated to us, some good sweet stuff, and we wanted to give that to some of the folks, as well. 

“We, of course, are having some social distancing. We’re going to be having a coffee shop here, Cedar Creek Coffee. We just thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce them and feed people in the community.”

Food was also provided by The Ruprecht Organization of Branson McDonald’s. Elevate Branson also welcomed special guest DJ Kolmega. 

Members of the Army Reserves were also on site to assist with traffic and to pass meals to those using the drive-thru to pick-up the meals. 

Cedar Creek Coffee and Creations Director Raeanne Zurn explained that Cedar Creek Coffee and Creations, which began roasting coffee in 2012, provides employment to Stone and Taney county residents with developmental disabilities. She said the idea to bring the coffee shop into Elevate Branson was the result of a conversation she had with Stallings at a coffee-tasting at Pizza Ranch.

“Our goal is to get them community jobs,” said Zurn. “Preferably jobs they enjoy doing, instead of just housekeeping. Some of them like housekeeping. Some of them don’t. But those are the easy jobs to get. But they all love doing coffee. With the direction that Bryan’s programs are going here with his Jobs For Life and their autism services and all that stuff that’s going on, we just thought, what a great idea. 

What a perfect partnership combination. So we’re really excited.”

Zurn said they recently changed their name to include “and Creations” following the addition of a new product to their menu.

“Our creation is our kolaches, which if you’ve never heard of kolache, that’s a Czechoslovakian pastry,” said Zurn. “It’s basically a delicious dough that you can stuff with just about anything. Cheeseburger, pizza, barbecue beef, and then we’ve got some delicious fruit-filled ones. So those are our creations that we’ve added that we’ll be offering those here as well.”

While they don’t have an opening date set in stone yet, Zurn said an announcement should be happing in the next few weeks. 

“We are hoping for people to come in and stay here, enjoy their coffee and enjoy our guys and gals. It’s just amazing to see them in their element,” said Zurn. “Their job is the most important thing in their life. They’re great workers. They’re so happy to be at work. So just to come in, and before you start your workday, get a cup of coffee and have a smile on your face when you get there. Take a dozen kolaches with you, and you’ll be popular at the office.”

Over the last couple of months, Stallings said, they’ve been busy, but that’s not stopped them from planning for some upcoming events and projects. 

“We’ve been serving a lot of people some food and helping them with unemployment and just a variety of things during this pandemic. Moving forward, we’ll shift back to business as usual, but business as usual for us means June 1 we’ll have a Light Your Spark Summer Reading Program for kids that are going into K-3rd Grade. There’s no charge for that,” said Stallings. “That will be for June, and we’ll help those kids transition into summer school in July. We’ll start our Up With Kids Promotion beginning in June and July, which is similar to MDA where you put your name on something for a $1. So we’ll be starting that promotion on June 1 as well.”

Visit elevatebranson.org or their Elevate Branson Facebook page.

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