The Mindful Mango is a social enterprise designed to help people living with mental illnesses discover and follow their paths to self-sufficiency. Our guiding principle is simple: we believe that recognizing and strengthening someone’s gifts, talents and assets is the best way to inspire positive action for change.
THINGS WE ARE MINDFUL OF…
- Good food choices
Awesome coffee, great-tasting, healthy foods made from our own recipes with fresh, locally-sourced, fairly-traded ingredients whenever we can.
- Our environment
Reducing waste and negative impact in sourcing, shipping, preparation, serving, cleaning and disposal practices.
- Friendly service
A smile, a familiar face, a name remembered, a special order just the way you like it, and all the little things that matter.
- Your satisfaction
The food you love, the service and quality you appreciate, the pleasure of having you come back soon.
- The art of the possible
Helping people realize their potential through work, reinvesting our profits in other progressive mental health initiatives.
OUR MINDFUL STORY
We’ve always been cooking up something interesting, and we’ve had plenty of changes along the way. Today’s Mindful Mango is the evolution of almost two decades of hard work by a visionary team working in support of those living with mental illnesses. Here’s a brief synopsis of our history:
- We started as a catering business in 1994
Connections Clubhouse (now Connections Halifax), a community mental health program, established a catering business as a social enterprise helping people living with mental illnesses gain confidence and build skills toward self-sufficiency. We become well known for our innovative catering for special events and meetings. The catering kitchen operated out of the same space as the original Connections Clubhouse at 2494 Robie Street.
- We provided in-house foodservice at Sunrise Manor, 2001-2008
Already familiar with our catering success, the staff at a community housing partner, The Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority, encouraged us to bid on an upcoming contract to provide daily on-site foodservice for 11 mental health patients. These 11 patients were being transferred into a special nursing unit being set up at Sunrise Manor, due to the closure of the Halifax County Regional Rehabilitation Center in Cole Harbour. We developed the expertise and skills needed to manage the highly-specialized diets for the people in this unit with the help and support of Howard Selig, chef and nutritionist, now owner of Valley Flax in Middleton. This contract ended in 2008 when the unit was moved to its new and expanded location in Sackville (the Quest Society Regional Rehabilitation Center). Over the period of that 7 year contract, 25 people were employed as chefs, chef’s helpers, utility workers and as a bookkeeper.
- We opened The Mindful Mango Café in the Bayers Road Centre, January 2010
After the closure of the Quest Unit at Sunrise Manor, the Connections Halifax Team, started to work on fulfilling the dream of operating our own café in Halifax. We began researching other successful social-enterprise café operations throughout Canada and the US while searching for a new home, partnerships and opportunities. With a great deal of hard work and planning, plus the professional guidance and support of many community partners including, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Partners for Care, Steve Armbruster (Steve-O-Reno’s Cappuccino), Jim Dikaios (Java Blend Coffee Roasters), Sean Doucet (Chef and Operations Manager, Delta Halifax), Pete Luckett (Pete’s Frootique) and Danny Hoskins (Russell Food Equipment), we were finally able to realize our goals and the Mindful Mango Café opened on January 6, 2010 in the food court area of the Bayers Road Centre. In April 2010, a special grand opening event was held with our partners, business and government leaders, local producers and suppliers, and media all in attendance.
- We opened a mobile coffee break cart outside Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Blood Collection Service in the Bayers Road Centre and developed a new catering service, September, 2013
We collaborated with the Department of Community Services to expand our services at Bayers Road Center to include a mobile coffee cart service outside Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Blood Collection Services. This expansion also included a return to our original roots with the development of a daytime catering service, which has created many more training and employment opportunities.
- We became the in-house catering company for the Nova Scotia Health Authority Central Zone in Spring 2018
As our business grew, we made the decision to close our café on Bayers Road and use our knowledge and highly experienced team to become the in-house catering company for the NSHA Central Zone. The move has been great for the Mango team — although we were sad to say goodbye to some of our regular lunch time patrons on Bayers Road, we’re now busier than ever feeding the hard working employees and larger team members of the NSHA.
About our partners
The Mindful Mango Café is one of the progressive community programs of Connections Halifax, a mental health outreach division of Nova Scotia Health Authority. The Café is operated with the additional expertise of Partners for Care, an organization that supports the patients of Nova Scotia Health Authority through a diverse range of associated business and community opportunities, as well as the Department of Community Services.