TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC) -- A coffee cart that helps provide work for 30 individuals with disabilities in the Torrance area was stolen recently, leaving employees heartbroken just before Christmas.
The cart, a trailer and equipment worth about $20,000 were stolen on Dec. 20.
The Hermosa Coffee Co. cart was operated by ICAN, a nonprofit that helps provide jobs and independence to people who have disabilities.
Barista Daisy Davila was devastated by the loss of the cart she tearfully describes as "My identity and the identity of my classmates."
"It's my little contribution to the community," Davila said.
Davila was one of 30 employees - who are also called clients by the organization - on this ICAN coffee cart. Hermosa Coffee Co. began in 2017.
ICAN executive director Scott Elliott said he and his wife saw a void in the lives of people with disabilities.
"We wanted to create an organization that specifically focused on helping them achieve that dream of getting a real job, for real pay in their community," Elliott said.
Davila was grateful to have a place where the lessons went beyond making espressos, kombucha and cold brews.
"I want to thank the Elliots and every single one of my coaches for making room for me and thank you," Davila said.
"I have learned how to be more open with our community and be patient," Davila added.
ICAN Marketplace program manager Judie Reyes said the carts helped clients spread word of the nonprofit's mission.
"We've gained a lot of friendships, created a lot of different business relationships with different people in the community, so seeing that has been taken away from us is really sad," Reyes said.
As Torrance police investigate, strangers are donating on GoFundMe to help replace the stolen items.
Clients are hoping for a Christmas miracle.
"We want Santa to find it for us and bring the same coffee cart back here," ICAN coffee cart barista Dane Wells said.
Torrance coffee cart employing people with disabilities stolen days before Christmas
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