A local favorite in Cocoa Beach, Fla., the Juice ’N Java Café is more than a cool spot for residents and tourists to hang out and fuel up. That’s because about a year ago Jenny Pruett, who owns the small business with her husband, Kevin, a sometime offshore powerboat racer, founded the Freedom Fighter organization that raises awareness of raises funds for victims of human trafficking.
In addition to delivering offshore racing action, next month’s Thunder On Cocoa Beach Space Coast Grand Prix—the APBA Offshore Championship Series season-opener—will raise money for Freedom Fighter, a locally based anti-human-trafficking organization. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The Freedom Fighter organization, which just recently received its 501(c)(3) designation as a nonprofit charity, caught the attention of Kerry Bartlett, the executive director of Thunder On Cocoa Beach Space Coast Grand Prix set for May 17-19, which is the first stop in the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series. Bartlett and his team selected Freedom Fighter as the 2019 event’s primary benefitting charity.
“We choose a local charity every year for the boat race, and this year— being as close as we are to Orlando and it being one of the major hotspots for travelers—there has been a lot on the news about human trafficking,” said Bartlett. “We were made aware that Jenny Pruett was involved with the Freedom Fighter so we met to find out what they’re all about. We think it is a perfect fit for our event and the charity, not only locally but nationally and internationally for our audience.”
Java ‘N Juice sells Freedom Fighter-branded merchandise from bags of coffee to T-shirts and hats, with 100 percent of the proceeds “going to fight human trafficking,” according to the organization’s website. In addition to the Freedom Fighter name, the gear is brand with its “I am a Freedom Fighter” slogan.
The Cocoa Beach outfit also is teaming up with other anti-human-trafficking organizations such as Rescue Freedom International and Florida Abolitionist to raise awareness and combat the problem in the state. According to Pruett, Florida has the third worst human trafficking problem of all 50 states.
“We started raising awareness of human trafficking through selling bags of coffee, and it blew up from there,” said Jenny Pruett. “Through the help of some friends it has become a bigger vision for me and we created the ‘I am a Freedom Fighter’ brand. And we are super-excited to be involved with the race.”