PT’s Coffee in Kansas is one of Barista Magazine’s oldest coffee friends—literally and figuratively: we’ve been pals since before Ken and I even started the mag, when I worked for another coffee magazine, and PT’s turns 18 today—congratulations, Jeff and Fred and all of your wonderful staffers!
But I’m writing about PT’s for another reason today, which is to shed some light on some hard times facing one of PT’s beloved baristas, Sara Engelhardt.
Please read this article below, and please consider helping out and pitching in if you can. Community is what makes our industry great, and we applaud PT’s for supporting community so effortlessly, and with such love.
PTs rallies around barista
Jan 31, 2011
If you have ever had a latte made by Sara Engelhardt, chances are you never forgot the vibrantly trendy, stylishly spirited barista pulling your espresso shots.
She is one of those people you remember. Forever.
So in December, when word came that Engelhardt’s battle with cancer had returned, no one was surprised when her friends and co-workers at PTs Café in Barrington Village joined her fight.
The 24-year-old woman, who has worked at PTs for the past four years, recently relapsed in her struggle with Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer that affects the body’s immune system.
During previous treatments of the disease which was initially diagnosed in September 2009, Engelhardt relied on the services of the Marian Clinic to help pay for her medical needs. Now, with her condition requiring a more aggressive approach, the infectiously charming Engelhardt is finding support from the southwest Topeka cafe known for its spectacular coffee.
“Everybody treats each other like family here,” PTs Café manager Keith Dunbar explained. “It’s like your sister has cancer … we know we HAVE to do all we can to help.”
And that is exactly what they are doing.
Beginning Monday and running through Feb. 13, PTs Café is holding a silent auction at the coffee shop at 5660 S.W. 29th.
According to Nikki Strong, a barista at PTs, the response by people donating items for the auction has been amazing.
“We have about 90 items so far,” Strong said. “Not only is there a lot of great artwork, but also services like haircuts and massages.”
“A lot of our regular customers really wanted to be involved and donated items because they care so much about (Sara),” Strong said.
Over the course of the two-week event, items will be on display at the cafe, where people can place bids.
On Valentine’s Day, the day after the auction ends, winning bidders will be announced, but the support won’t stop there. All of the sales at the coffee shop that day will be donated to Engelhardt, and that amount will be matched by a donation from PTs Coffee Roasting Co.’s wholesale division. In addition to the money raised during the auction, organizers hope the Valentine’s Day event raises an additional $5,000.
For Dunbar, this is just the start of supporting Engelhardt: “When she relapsed, we were shocked and worried. Then we immediately said, ‘We’ve got to do something.’”
For more information on the fundraiser, contact PTs Café at (785) 273-4920 or the Art Auction for Sara Facebook page. You also can follow Engelhardt’s journey through her whatabeautifulbuzz blog.