The St. John’s County Café brings the holiday spirit early in the morning.
Noah’s Agape Café on State Road 13 in Fruit Cove hosts its first “Christmas in July” event from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday.
Joan Alice and Becky Schwartz team up to host a Christmas event in the hope that other families can connect with each other and make new friendships.
“I just want them to have fun,” Schwartz said. “I want them to have a great family experience.”
“Even with parents who now have adult children with special needs, they can just blend into younger families,” Alicia said. “So that they may instruct them, pour out your wisdom.”
Alicia is the CEO of Ability Tree First Coast, which provides recreational activities, support and education for people with special needs and their families.
Schwartz owns Noah’s Agape Café, which opened its doors in September 2022 and now employs about 20 people with unique abilities, mostly between the ages of 18 and 22.
The Christmas in July schedule includes activities such as cookie decorating, Christmas card making, karaoke, games and a visit from Santa Claus.
Both Alicia and Schwartz want this event to be a safe place and an opportunity for families to bond.
“Most of the time they just focus on clinical, medical, therapeutic and other things,” Alicia said. “There are always learning moments with their children. [I want] it’s pure enjoyment and just a chance to remember what it means to just be a family.”
“We just want to love these kids and love their families,” Schwartz said.
Noah’s Agape Café and Ability Tree First Coast have teamed up for several other events over the past year.
Last fall they had a fire and cocoa. They held a family bingo in the spring.
If you are interested in going, you must register to do so. You can do so here: https://www.abilitytreefc.org/family-social/.