A Café With a Mission | Omega

In upstate New York, a local cafe's profits support Ophelia's Place, a nonprofit dedicated to the conversation around eating disorders, body image, and body dissatisfaction.

In the town of Liverpool, New York, just north of Syracuse on Lake Onondaga, you'll find Café at 407, serving delicious, seasonal, locally produced, and handmade food. Opened in 2009, the café's main objective is to support Ophelia's Place, a nonprofit that is dedicated to changing the culture and conversation around eating disorders, body image, and body dissatisfaction.

Founded in 2002 to address an urgent need in the community, Ophelia's place seeks to redefine beauty and health at large by empowering individuals, families, and communities to address and heal all forms of eating disorders, disordered eating, and body dissatisfaction. Besides nourishing its local community directly, Ophelia's Place has become a national leader in offering support services, education, and outreach. It offers outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment programs with the Upstate New York Eating Disorder Service, supporting approximately 70 families weekly, and thousands each year.

Ophelia's place seeks to redefine beauty and health by empowering people to heal eating disorders and body dissatisfaction.

Ophelia's Place was a participating organization at the 2014 Women Serving Women Summit, a retreat grant that supports nonprofit organizations working to positively impact the lives of women through a two-day, two-night self-led retreat, hosted by the Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) during Omega Service Week. In an interview with MaryEllen Clausen, founder of Ophelia's Place, she recalled that her organzition was ready to close its doors right before they came to Summit. Team members showed up in a state of exhaustion and burnout. The organization had been losing money and struggling to continue.

During the retreat, the team did yoga, walked, and meditated. MaryEllen met other organizational leaders and founders who gave her a sense of community, support, and wisdom.

When the team returned home, they invited a representative from The New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON), whom they had met at Omega, for a site visit. With NYCON's help, they restructured some staffing and by 2015 the Café at 407 began supplying 35% of the organizational budget.

MaryEllen emphasized how impactful Summit was and how grateful her team was for having had that opportunity, stating that Ophelia's Place could not have gotten where they are today without the experience.

© 2016 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies