Lovely secures $60K for Breaking Grounds

Northeast Arc's Breaking Grounds will be closed due to a fire. (Libby O'Neill)

PEABODY — Help could soon be on the way for Northeast Arc’s Breaking Grounds, which has been closed since early May because of damage sustained in a fire.

State Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem) helped secure $60,000 for the café through an amendment to the budget passed by the state Senate last month. Breaking Grounds provides employment training to people with disabilities or autism, and the program is fully funded by sales from the café.

The fire broke out in an apartment unit in the building where Breaking Grounds is located on May 10, and caused extensive water damage to the store, forcing it to close for what officials said would be four to six weeks.

In a statement, Lovely said she was “deeply proud” the Senate enacted her amendment.

“Operated by Northeast Arc, this important program gives members of the North Shore autism and disabled communities the opportunity to hone their professional-development skills, thereby empowering them to pursue future careers and contribute to our region’s workforce,” she said. “With this funding, Breaking Grounds Café will be able to continue to provide these vital services for years to come. I would like to thank my Senate colleagues for their partnership and collaboration.”

The organization launched a fundraising campaign in the days following the fire to try and recoup the costs of the blaze. The revenue lost by the closure is “of great concern,” the nonprofit said in a statement.

“Although we hope insurance can cover some of the losses, there are many program-related costs, including our commitment to maintain salaries and the additional support for the interns, that will not be covered at the café and across the organization,” said Northeast Arc President and CEO Jo Ann Simons.

“I can promise you that we will rebuild Breaking Grounds and it will be better than ever,” she added. “I look forward to welcoming you all back for a cup of coffee when we reopen.”

As of May 22, clean-out crews had come to clear out the café and basement, bringing the store one step closer to its grand reopening.

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