New Mobile Cafe Puts Profits Toward Health Clinic in Sierra Leone

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Pink Star Cafe proprietor Mohamed Jalloh successful beforehand of his coffee-serving nutrient motortruck (staff photo)

A caller vegan nutrient and beverage motortruck is serving up java with a origin connected Wilson Blvd successful Ballston.

Pink Star Cafe opened its motortruck model Sunday, Oct. 3. and plans to stay parked successful the country until it raises capable wealth to unfastened a brick-and-mortar storefront.

But selling treats and cafe drinks is not proprietor Mohamed Jalloh’s apical priority. His ngo is to usage the profits to money a wellness session successful his family’s location state of Sierra Leone.

“We’re going to springiness wide checkups, menstrual products and necessities for those who don’t person entree to them,” said Jalloh, a first-generation American who grew up successful the D.C. area.

Jalloh plans to acceptable up the session successful aboriginal January successful Freetown, the nation’s superior and the metropolis wherever his parent lived earlier emigrating to the U.S. The three-day session volition beryllium tally by immoderate Sierra Leonean aesculapian professionals who are the archetypal successful their families to go aesculapian professionals.

How overmuch wealth helium dedicates to the origin volition beryllium connected what his nett margins look similar by January, helium says.

“As we grow, the program is yet to make bigger and amended wellness clinics yearly, physique much h2o wells and get radical entree to food,” said Jalloh.

Here successful Ballston, Pink Star Cafe serves up classic, originative and seasonal espresso drinks, from lattes to purple blistery cocoa to caramel pome beverage lattes. It besides offers vegan pastries, including glazed doughnuts, confetti cupcakes and seasonal treats, specified arsenic pumpkin cookies.

Jalloh said vegan treats are an integral portion of ensuring the cafe is “socially and economically conscious.” He gets the vegan baked goods from a husband-and-wife duo successful Austin, Texas.

“I wanted to enactment with a institution that’s conscionable arsenic tiny arsenic I am,” said Jalloh. “I conscionable emotion supporting different tiny businesses. ‘I’m small, you’re small, let’s get large unneurotic oregon let’s conscionable enactment small.'”

The entrepreneur says helium has spent overmuch of his beingness moving successful the nutrient work industry, learning from his parent however to merchantability nutrient successful crowded areas and springiness backmost to his community. Opening a nutrient motortruck was a earthy adjacent step.

“My ma didn’t person an education, truthful erstwhile she archetypal came from Sierra Leone, she had a blistery canine basal extracurricular of RFK Stadium wherever the Redskins — present Washington Football Team — used to play,” helium said. “Every summer, erstwhile I wasn’t successful school, I would enactment with her. She’d springiness maine a cooler and I would merchantability h2o and Gatorade. Eventually, she went from a blistery canine basal to a nutrient truck. She’d thrust astir and provender operation workers portion they were gathering up D.C.”

The Howard University alumnus archetypal acceptable up store successful Los Angeles successful mid-2020. The locale and clientele inspired the name, helium says, since “everybody successful LA wants to beryllium a star, truthful Pink Star is the spot wherever everyone gets to beryllium treated similar a star.”

But helium soon felt the propulsion to determination backmost to the D.C. area.

“Los Angeles is simply a chill spot but I conscionable emotion it here,” helium said. “I’m besides a autumn person, autumn is my favourite play of the year. Fall and winter, it don’t get nary amended than that.”

Getting the motortruck present presented immoderate challenges, however. He couldn’t spend to vessel the truck, truthful helium opted for the 46-hour, cross-country drive.

“It was painful, virtually painful,” helium said. “I recovered retired I had a teardrop successful my rotator cuff erstwhile I got back. I went for an MRI and recovered retired I had a teardrop successful my enarthrosis and it got inflamed during the drive. It was a achy journey, but it was worthy it.”

Jalloh settled connected Ballston precocious aft grabbing immoderate vegan nutrient astatine True Food Kitchen and exploring the area.

“I truly emotion the vigor present successful Ballston,” helium said.

And, portion philanthropy is Jalloh’s main ngo with Pink Star Cafe, helium does person dreams of opening a store someday successful Arlington.

“We person immoderate crazy, dope ideas. I privation to make a store wherever radical tin travel and acquisition what we person to offer. Of people the motortruck is cute, but you don’t truly get to acquisition it due to the fact that you get a cupful and you go. But, I privation radical to soak up what we’re really doing, I privation them to soak up the culture,” helium said. “I privation radical to, each clip they instrumentality a sip, deliberation of Africa.”

Jalloh says the champion mode to enactment up-to-date connected the truck’s income and philanthropy is via Instagram, wherever helium already has astir 9,000 followers. The mobile cafe is unfastened from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. regular but Tuesday and Wednesday, though hours and days are taxable to change.

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