Talk Of The Town

RedPorchThe interior of The Red Porch café in New Baden that will be operated in partnership by Clinton Manor Living Center and Community Link. (Submitted photo)    Located at 301 E. Hanover St. in New Baden, The Red Porch — with the mission to Brew Good. Do Good — will have its grand opening on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
    The Red Porch focuses on three areas:  Community. Café. Connect.
    The community helped create an eclectic, fun and inviting café for patrons.
    Community Link, in partnership with Clinton Manor Living Center, created a café that would provide people with disabilities the opportunity to work and gain skills that would be transferable to other jobs.
    It will give business owners a deeper understanding of the contributions that people with disabilities provide the business world.
    Southern Illinois Living Centers/Clinton Manor provided the building, renovations and a $5,000 donation for equipment and supplies. Resources for Enhanced Active Living (R.E.A.L.) Group graciously donated $8,293.94 toward the purchase of an espresso machine, coffee brewer and coffee grinder.
    “Approximately two years ago we began with a vision to have a place in our community that people can come and connect with each other in a warm and welcoming atmosphere over a cup of warm coffee, tea or Ski. I am so excited to be partnering with Community Link on making this vision a reality,” said Michael Brave, CEO at Clinton Manor Living Center.
    You can’t miss the bright red porch with rocking chairs and a large bench decorated by Dawn Ahner of Ahner Florist. She also accessorized the café’s interior and plans to change the décor seasonally.
    Ahner said, “I hope New Baden welcomes and supports The Red Porch. I think it’s absolutely wonderful that a café like The Red Porch is going to be in our community.”
    Paul Berkemann, owner and baker at Berkemann’s Baker’s Dozen, is enthusiastic about the mission and purpose behind the café. That’s why he’s eager to partner with The Red Porch to offer his pastries and breads as part of the café’s menu.  Paul said, “The success of The Red Porch equals a success to me.”
    The café offers espresso drinks, coffee, The Republic of Tea  and Excel products, Berkemann’s pastries and light meals while providing jobs and opportunities for people with disabilities. 
    “Community Link is incredibly fortunate to have many business owners and community members who share in our vision of enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through the dignity of work,” said Lynn Huelsmann, executive director at Community Link.
    The Red Porch is a perfect spot to connect with a friend, telework or just relax with a beverage. The café offers a variety of seating options from a custom bar, dining room, library, front porch or back deck. Free WiFi is available for all customers, as well as a registered “Free Little Library” with a bookshelf of books for all ages.
    The café has created a space that promotes inclusion and togetherness, and is a place to catch up with an old friend or make a new one. 
    The Red Porch is open Tuesday through Friday 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. You can view their menu at and the store’s number is (618) 588-5250.

About Community Link
    Community Link, a non-profit organization and United Way member agency, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through a person-centered approach that promotes self-directed living choices and community integration opportunities. 
    Community Link’s mission is to challenge, teach and inspire participants and community, linking them in ways that enhance their lives. For more information, visit www.comm

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