Our History

Our Beginnings

The Coffeehouse at Good Shepherd was established in October 1997 to provide adults with developmental disabilities, and others in the community, a monthly opportunity to join together in a welcoming atmosphere to listen to music, socialize, and make new friends. Coffeehouse attendees repeatedly heard many of the same questions from its participants and they began to wonder:


These situations and others are faced daily by adults with special needs. The Serving Cup was formed in January 2000 to address some of these issues and networks developed over the years through monthly Coffeehouses have provided a natural link to help tackle these questions.



The second Coffeehouse was established in January 2002 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cary, NC. The Serving Cup plans to develop additional Coffeehouses, with the goal that local residents will be able to attend a Coffeehouse somewhere in Wake County in every week of the year.  It is our hope to eventually expand this model beyond Wake County. Interested in starting a Coffeehouse at your place of worship, civic space, or other community hub? Email info@servingcup.org and we’ll be in touch!

Housing: SC Green Level Homes opened its doors to twelve residents in 2010. Green Level Homes, located in Cary, NC, was made possible in part by a 2005 grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Serving Cup continually pursues sites for future developments.

Recognizing and respecting differences in others, and treating everyone like you want them to treat you, will help make our world a better place for everyone. Care… be your best. You don’t have to be handicapped to be different. Everyone is different!

– Kim Peek, inspiration for the main character in the movie Rain Man

We recognize that the Serving Cup’s ongoing projects do not provide solutions to every question posed to friends of the Coffeehouse. In all of our efforts to do so, The Serving Cup aims also to erase the lines dividing people of differing abilities.

As we are increasingly sensitive to differences between cultures, we should learn to understand differences within our own culture.

Timeline and History

  • 1992  Sunday School class begins at Good Shepherd
  • 1994  Whittecar Group Home founded
  • 1997  First Coffeehouse held at Good Shepherd
  • 2000  The Serving Cup founded
  • 2003  First HUD grant application not selected
  • 2005  Next HUD application succeeds
  • 2010  Green Level Homes opens
  • 2016  Building Independence homes open