By Othor Cain,


Refill Cafe cohorts and community partners including Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba (center)

Refill Cafe cohorts and community partners including Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba (center)

One thing the City of Jackson isn’t lacking – places to eat. From fine dining to local hole in the walls, on any given day in the state’s capital city you can get a plethora of good food.

One could ask, why another restaurant would enter the market place?

Refill Cafe isn’t just another eatery competing for business in Jackson; it is on a mission to transform lives.

Refill Cafe, is an arm of the Refill Jackson Initiative (RJI), whose mission is to empower young adults. Refill Cafe is the hub for the training development program of RJI, a workforce training program that is designed to support Jackson’s young adults, specifically those between the ages of 18 and 24 who are disconnected from the workforce and education.

Located in the former Koinonia Coffee House, Refill opened this week to an amazing reception. A standing room only crowd that showcased the best of what the city and state has to offer. “Today we are going to celebrate all the work and the generosity that went into making this a reality. Today, we are here to lay down a marker and let the world know that something special has happened, because many came to the table offering gifts and talent and time… all in the interest of creating a place to empower young adults ages 18 to 24 so that they are more confident, better equipped and motivated to enter into, navigate and stay in the workforce,” said Jeff Good, chairman of the board of directors.

Refill Cafe is the physical place where the workforce training takes place. On the first floor, the cafe is a high-quality lunchtime café and kitchen where the learning and practicing work-ready and technical skills are put into action. Concepts such as timeliness, respect for others, grace under pressure, workflow organization and conflict resolution are all played out as our members help the regular hired staff of the café serve lunch each day to the general public. The menu is fresh, high quality and will stand up to any restaurant offering in the metro.

Classrooms and meeting space are housed on the second floor and provides Refill “members” community space to complete a well-designed curriculum for soft-skills, financial literacy, educational support and links to health and social services.

Upon graduation, Refill members are placed either in full-time employment, continuing education programs, or a paid internship that extends their learning opportunities in settings beyond the food services sector.

Your visit to the restaurant provides members an opportunity to put their skills on display and you get to enjoy amazing food.

There are so many amazing things happening in West Jackson and Refill is another extension of those offerings. Located on Jackson State University’s Parkway, it’s easily accessible for downtown workers, JSU students and anyone who wants to plant a seed into this mission.

For more information and opportunities please visit

See photos page 18.

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