SOUTH LOS ANGELES – Not too long ago, the warm milk was nowhere near as hot as South LA Café. Customers came in droves to the coffee shop just started by Joe and Ceila Ward-Wallace in November of 2019.

“This is a gathering place. People are coming here that are meeting for the first time in 40 years,” Joe said back in January.

These days South LA café is a lot emptier. There’s no sitting, and no coffee shop experience at all because of the CODI-19 outbreak and the stay at home orders which followed. 


“That overnight put us into a tailspin,” said Ceila.

They have had to lay off most of their staff, so those employees could get unemployment benefits. 

“Revenue and sales are down 80 percent and so we are definitely still struggling financially to make ends meet,” Ceila explained. 

Despite their own business concerns, they believe they have a community responsibility in this time of crisis. They’ve partnered with chef Jazz Jones of Prepped Plants to provide vegan meals to seniors in the area. 

“That feels like the greater need, the greater responsibility right now is what can we be doing on a daily basis to make sure people are eating and staying safe in our community, when we’re the most marginalized, the most at risk, most vulnerable population in Los Angeles, right here in South Central L.A.,” Ceila added. 

So as, she and her lone barista oversee things at the shop Joe is packing and delivering those meals to seniors in the neighborhood.

“We were made for this moment. It feels like a destiny moment. It feels like it’s part of our purpose on the planet,” Ceila said.

People all over the planet are finding themselves in crisis over an enemy we can’t see. Yet, South LA Café is helping others survives while hoping its business can too. 

If you are interested in becoming a supporter with donations for this shop, you can text “HELPSLAC” to 38470.

If you are in the South LA area and would like to get coffee or other treats from here on the go you can text “COFFEE” to 474747 to get their app, and you can order for curbside pickup.