Shickley family popcorn business helps son with autism

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Nebraska family has a passion for one sweet and salty treat. They’ve also discovered it’s helping one family member adjust to living on the autism spectrum.

The popping never stops in the Washington-Oglesby driveway in Shickley, Neb.

This mother-son duo has been working out of the MoKa’s Kitchen trailer for the last five years. However, the passion for popcorn dates back to Owen Washington-Oglesby’s first birthday when his grandpa got him an old fashioned popper.

“Owen likes to hear popcorn pop… it soothes him,” said Karen Washington-Oglesby, owner of MoKa’s Kitchen. “Owen is on the autistic spectrum, so it was just one of those things to give him social skills.”

“Popcorn was just another way to escape this life and making it into someone else’s life,” said Owne.

In a town of 341 people MoKa’s kitchen is pretty well known.

“Owen will get all the time ‘Hey will you tell your mom I want popcorn,’” said Karen Washington-Oglesby.

MoKa’s Kitchen is fresh off of the Nebraska State Fair and they’re popping for Old Trusty Days this weekend. Soon, they hope to expand into a brick and mortar store.

“I do it more for my children than I do it for myself,” said Karen. “I just want them to see that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible.”

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