NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A special space for the deaf and hard of hearing was robbed before it could even open.
Sandra Rivers and her friend, Kent Willis, used sign language to talk about their efforts to get the Deaf’s Delight Cafe up and running. It will be the first of its kind for the deaf and hard of hearing in the Tri-State Area.
“I would have liked to open in June, but tragedy hit,” Rivers told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Monday.
She said her cafe was robbed in the middle of the night on June 10, a few days before her insurance kicked in.
The suspects took all of the appliances, even one of the kitchen sinks.
“The soda refrigerator, the cappuccino machine, the fryer, the convention oven,” Rivers said.
“When she told me on Facebook that she got robbed I was like, ugh. I was heartbroken,” Newark resident Willis said.
Rivers poured her life savings into the cafe in honor of her deaf mother and mute father, who struggled to find activities.
“It ensures that never happens again. They can come here for fellowship, have their own sip and paint parties, poetry night, movies in their own language , Rivers said.
“We need this. Every time there is something broken it can be fixed,” Willis added.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Deaf’s Delight Cafe. Rivers said there are more than 12,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing residents in Newark. She said she hopes to draw others from neighboring towns and cities. She’s not yet sure when she will be able to open.
All of the employees of Deaf’s Delight Cafe will be deaf or hard of hearing.