By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Nilda Valmores and Yen Marshall prepared for a big day at My Sister’s Cafe, the only cafe in the state that is operated by a domestic violence shelter and is set to celebrate seven years of helping women escape abusive relationships.

Yen has seen the impact up close while helping a friend escape a violent situation. She knows how critical the work at this cafe is.

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“It was very scary. Especially when you know within the culture you don’t talk about being abused like that,” Yen said. “And then not knowing where your future will lie.”

The money made at My Sister’s Cafe supports the My Sister’s House Women to Work Program, which helps survivors of domestic violence find employment and, ultimately, freedom from a life of abuse.

“Many of our survivors have said they didn’t know how depressed they were but then when they got jobs how happy they were,” said Nilda, executive director.

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Like many businesses, it’s been a tough year for the cafe during the pandemic, only bringing in 10-20% of what they usually make. And yet they still managed to serve lunches to 100 survivors a day because of grants.

“This is the difference that My Sister’s House can make, and especially in these hard times during the pandemic, this stuff is really important and this stuff brings smiles to everybody’s faces,” Nilda said.

Celebrating seven years, the cafe is critical to helping victims of violence become independent survivors.

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“Women need to know that they have help outside the home in order for them to make the right decision,” Yen said.