Freedom a la Cart caters to a cause as well as a customer base. As a professional catering service and workforce development program for local survivors of human trafficking, Freedom a la Cart guides survivors toward a sustainable future as well as provides delicious food for events, weddings and board meetings. Managing Director Keturah Schroeder and her staff help women gain economic independence through a holistic approach to restoration. On Nov. 15, Freedom a la Cart will host the inaugural Eat Up! Columbus event, a 7-course tasting featuring chefs from The Crest, Skillet, Pistacia Vera, The Market Italian Village and more, with all proceeds benefitting the organization's mission.

Freedom a la Cart caters to a cause as well as a customer base. As a professional catering service and workforce development program for local survivors of human trafficking, Freedom a la Cart guides survivors toward a sustainable future as well as provides delicious food for events, weddings and board meetings. Managing Director Keturah Schroeder and her staff help women gain economic independence through a holistic approach to restoration. On Nov. 15, Freedom a la Cart will host the inaugural Eat Up! Columbus event, a 7-course tasting featuring chefs from The Crest, Skillet, Pistacia Vera, The Market Italian Village and more, with all proceeds benefitting the organization's mission.

At my job, I get to see miracles every day. Most people think working for an agency that aims to stop human trafficking would be awful, but I love it. I get to watch these strong women blossom and take charge of their lives. I get to see them receive their first paycheck, and open their first checking account, and save up for their first car. It can be tough at times, but it's worth all the hard work. When I was younger, I was told I was "too bossy" for a girl, which fueled my interest for women's rights, and ultimately what lead me to become involved with Freedom A La Cart. To see these women move from being stuck in the cycle of human trafficking to believing in themselves enough to want to become the C.E.O. of their own company is pretty amazing.

Freedom a la Cart is about more than catering. It's a way to provide dignified work and also help our survivors develop life, social and job skills. Our mission is to move local adult survivors of human trafficking on a path out of that life. They want to be working, taxpaying citizens and we want to help them achieve that and get them what they need to be successful. It's hard to imagine, but for some women this is all they've known since they were young teens. Some of them had never been to the art museum until we took them as part of one of our monthly social outings.

The Eat Up! Columbus event helps us offer everything we can to our survivors. The catering business sustains itself, but it doesn't help fund the extra services we want to offer. The goal is to help them create a sustainable future; to do that they need more than just a job. We offer a support system to help the survivors succeed. Often women are trapped because they haven't developed the necessary skills to keep a traditional job, and end up back in the system. All of them want to be financially independent,

We originally thought about doing a food competition, but that isn't what we're about. Collaboration is in our DNA as an organization. It made more sense for us to bring people together. So we decided to do a 7-course tasting, each course paired with a drink selection. Fundraisers can be pretty stiff, but we are ready to celebrate. The topic of human trafficking isn't something pleasant people want to talk about, but we feel like we have something to celebrate. We are having seven amazing chefs making great food for everyone to enjoy communally. We want it to feel like a friend's dinner party.