DENVER — A Denver-based business is blending good food and goodwill on a bus. The Smoothie Bus is the joint venture of two non-profits employing teens and people with disabilities, serving up positivity with every sip.
Smoothie Bus co-founder Mary Medellin Sims is also the executive director of Guided by Humanity, an organization focused on employing people with disabilities to help them learn life skills.
Pos Ryant is the executive director of the Smoothie Bus' other half, Apprentice of Peace Youth Organization. It educates and provides youth with job opportunities and nutritional foods.
"Everybody gets along," Sims said of the collaborative working environment. "I love that our youth is learning from our folks with disabilities, and our folks with disabilities are learning from the youth."
The bus itself, is fully outfitted with lights, music, and a colorful retro feel.
"I think it's kind of nostalgic because it's an actual bus," Ryant said.
The smoothies, meanwhile, serve as the nutrients of inclusivity and wellness in the community.
"We were very intentional about the smoothie recipes," Sims said. "We wanted to make sure that if folks receive SNAP benefits they would be able to purchase mangos and pineapples and oranges, and spinach. So, they're really accessible fruits and vegetables."
And, they take the bus everywhere around town.
"I think the cool thing is, we're in schools," Ryant said. "We get to do corporate events. We're at hospitals."
The operation also provides the workers get mentors, career guidance, and social savvy to take with them, wherever they go.
"People find us," Ryant said. "I think we are always surprised with how people find us."
Their ultimate goal is to add another bus and open a cafe, so the community has a central place to get a healthy snack and share in the camaraderie.