A Coffee House Ministry Proudly Serving U.S. Troops since 2006
United Church of Christ military chaplains have found an old way to invite U.S. soldiers into a safe and informal place where they can receive spiritual care and good coffee. Congregations and individuals can support the Coffee House Ministry and simultaneously participate in the UCC Fair Trade Project by sending Equal Exchange Coffee to military chaplains in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.
Coffee may be an unlikely ally of the Gospel yet in the hands of a chaplain it can enable meaningful ministry. By offering a place to come, relax, and talk with chaplains, the “Coffee House and Café Ministries” provide our military personnel with a place where they can be emotionally and spiritually renewed and have a moment of peace as well as a cup of gourmet coffee. It opens doors to communication and allows troops to begin to heal their concerns and relieve their burdens related to the home front or their deployment. In 2015, thanks to you, 151 Chaplains are able to participate.
At this time our troops continue to be deployed in many countries where they encounter very difficult, life–threatening situations. Their daily experiences extract an extreme physical, emotional and psychological toll. Our chaplains are the first line of defense against the emotional and psychological issues faced by our troops. Whether or not we agree with our country’s foreign policy, we continue to offer our troops a cup of coffee and support them through the military chaplain’s ministry. Please participate in this ministry -- supporting our troops as well as small coffee farmers around the world -- by sending Equal Exchange Coffee to military chaplains.
In Chaplain (Ret) Andrew Sholtes words: “Holy Joe’s Cafe is a place where chaplains in the Small Forward Operating Bases, hangar bays, hospitals, aid stations and their makeshift chapels are able to bring a taste of home to the tired, the anxious, the angry, the lonely and the wounded. They can all get gourmet coffee, a reminder that the world they willingly left behind still cares.”
If you are a military chaplain in need of coffee,
please contact Holy Joe's Café at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tom at 888-970-7994
Donate Coffee to Holy Joe’s Café through Equal Exchange & the UCC Fair Trade Project
Donate Money to Holy Joe's Café
Make checks payable to:
Go to Equal Exchange’s webstore with your Visa or MasterCard.
If you order as a congregation or other organization, you will receive wholesale pricing. If ordering as an individual, you will pay retail. To get wholesale pricing, hover over Wholesale (upper right corner of page) and choose the type of account (for example, congregation).
If you are new to ordering on the web store, or if it has been over two years since you ordered, you will need to "create an account." “Organization name” is your church. Under "Coffee Project/Interfaith Group" choose "UCC Project." (By identifying the UCC Fair Trade Project, 15 cents per pound of all products ordered will be given to the UCC Small Farmer Fund for anti-hunger/economic development programs at Franklinton Center at Bricks in eastern N. Carolina.)
If your church has a tax-exempt number, please enter it but this is not necessary to process the order.
Holy Joe’s requests you select Fellowship Blend percolator coffee. No Decaf please.
Under “Choose the Shipping Address,” enter the following:
Holy Joe’s Café
c/o Cooper-Atkins Corporation
33 Reed’s Gap Road, Middlefield, CT 06455
IMPORTANT: After ordering coffee, please send an email to email@example.com with the complete sender’s information (congregation/individual) so that we can track the coffee delivery and also thank you for it.
For more information contact: Tom Jastermsky (888-970-7994) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Chaplains' Words of Gratitude for the Holy Joe's Café Ministry
“Holy Joe’s Café is the conduit for chaplains who set up an oasis not in size but in purpose. It’s the “taste of home” through coffee which is the most important place for people when they are in the midst of great havoc.” Chaplain Daniel Middlebrooks
“I wanted to thank you for your very kind and generous donation of coffee to the Night Stalkers who are deployed. Ministries such as yours are not formed overnight and don’t operate effectively without great effort, time and persistence. Your tireless dedication has not gone unnoticed. My men and the Air Force chaplains at the hospitals in Afghanistan were very grateful for the shipment. As you know there is significant logistical challenge to get the coffee from the states into a combat zone. With the latest delivery their Holy Joe’s Café ministry will remain. You have my word that we will continue to support your ministry into the future. Please give our warmest regards to your entire team of volunteers and donors. It makes our job and mission so much easier to have the support of the American people. I thank you so very much! With kind regards, LTC Chris Black
Holy Joe’s Café,
Combined Joint Task Force 10 Operation Section would like to extend our deepest gratitude for your outstanding contributions and support to our 10th Mountain Soldiers. Your kind gesture of goodwill has helped bring a little bit of “home and comfort” from the tasks the Soldiers endure on a daily basis. Your gift has significantly enhanced the morale of our Soldiers and to see them smile from opening your gift is a sight to see. Your devoted service to our Nation and troops did not go unnoticed and hopefully this sincere letter is proof of our gratitude. Sincerely Yours, CPT De Castro Pretelt, CJTF -10, Bagram Air Field
Dear Holy Joe’s Café,
Thank you for your incredibly generous support of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Civilians serving here in Bagram Air field, Afghanistan. Their service during this historic period in Afghanistan has been truly remarkable. You honor their service with your tremendous support. Gestures such as yours truly help to provide comfort and connection to home for these great American men and women as they serve selflessly away from loved ones and ensure we are all safer at home. Climb to Glory! Sincerely, Stephen J. Townsend, Major General, US Army
I’m writing to express my gratitude for the coffee that the HOLY JOE’S CAFÉ program has donated to our unit. We know that it took a great deal of time and expense to send the coffee here and we can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for us.
I can’t say that I am trading shots with the Taliban. However, I work on a headquarters staff that is responsible for most of Eastern Afghanistan. There are a lot of people here who work some long hours. It would be an understatement to say that everyone from the Commanding General to the most junior install-agency analyst has benefitted from your organization's efforts. Like a lot of people here, we make it through the day one cup of coffee at a time.
It has been over 13 years since the conflict in Afghanistan began. We know this is an especially long time for volunteers and donors. However, your selfless generosity and support is a reminder of what is good in this world and worth protecting.
My sincerest gratitude, LTC Lawrence Walton
On behalf of the Soldiers and leaders of the 1st Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, I would like to thank you and your ministry, Holy Joe’s Café, so much for your generous contribution to support our morale and well-being! Your coffee has been so well received by our Soldiers and the Airmen in this installation. They kept smiling and asking, “Who would do this for us?” A cup of joe goes a long way to making a difficult day more bearable. The coffee is currently housed in our chapel, The Oasis, and is available to all personnel – Airmen, Soldiers, and Civilians – to come in and grab a cup whenever they need a caffeine boost. Drinking a good cup of coffee keeps us connected to home, and focused throughout the day. Thank you for communicating to our unit that we are not forgotten and that our service is appreciated. It has been a boon to the chaplain ministry here.
May God richly bless you and your supporters for your generosity. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Sincerely, Chaplain (Captain) U.S. Army Alison L. Ward
More Information about Holy Joe’s Café
Spiritual Resilience Center, Bagram Air Field
Here is a short flier on Holy Joe's Cafe Coffee Ministry for you to download.
Find information here about the Holy Joe's Cafe Coffee House Military Chaplain Ministry
The UCC Fair Trade Project (formally the UCC Coffee Project) allows your congregation to partner with the UCC and Equal Exchange in building fair trade for small farming communities by serving fairly traded coffee, tea and cocoa, and chocolate, snacks, and olive oil for justice at fellowship hour on Sundays.
The UCC Fair Trade Project is a way for your congregation to join hands with communities in the developing world. As Christians we can address a consumer dilemma by buying coffee and other commodities that are fairly traded. Through the project, small farmers and their families gain more control over their lives, earn a fairer share of income, have access to credit and technical support, and gain a trading partner they can trust, a fair trade organization called Equal Exchange. (See the video Equal Exchange: Who We Are and What We Believe In.) And, through the project, members of your congregation can learn about consumption habits that support small scale farmers and workers throughout the world and encourage careful stewardship of God's creation. At fellowship hour, you will be taking action in a spirit of love.
How to Be Part of the UCC Fair Trade Project
- Serve fair trade coffee, tea cocoa and snacks at fellowship hour, church events, in the office and at home.
- Design congregational fund raising projects featuring fairly traded coffee, tea, snacks, chocolate and olive oil. Give fair trade gift baskets as thank you gifts.
- Order educational resources along with your coffee and make space and time in your congregation for conversation about justice in the global economy.
- Encourage other places of worship or businesses in your community to partner with Equal Exchange's Interfaith Coffee Project.
At Equal Exchange's webstore, remember to log-in as part of the Interfaith Program and the UCC Fair Trade Project. This will ensure you are offered wholesale pricing! For more information about the UCC Fair Trade Project, go on line to Equal Exchange's Interfaith Fair Trade Program at equalexchange.com/interfaith, e-mail email@example.com, or call 774-776-7366.
Kids love to get chocolate for Halloween. But for children in cocoa-growing countries in Africa, chocolate often means child labor and family poverty. Equal Exchange, our partner in the UCC Fair Trade Project, participates in a fair-trade program to help end the problems of child labor, poverty, and environmental destruction in the African cocoa industry. Buy fair-trade chocolate mini-bars to give on Halloween. You can also order wholesale to sell to members of your congregation; a youth or women’s group could sell the mini-bars as a fundraiser.) Order now. Help end child labor.
Learn More from Equal Exchange
Equal Exchange shares ideas for serving fairly traded coffee.
Explore educational resources about particular fairly traded products:
Your Purchase Counts Twice: UCC Small Farmer Fund
Equal Exchange contributes $0.15 to the UCC Justice & Witness Ministries Small Farmer Fund for every pound of fairly traded products sold through the UCC Coffee Project. Since the Coffee Project began in 2004, Equal Exchange has nearly $100,000 to the UCC Justice & Witness Ministries Small Farmers' Fund.
Small Farmer Fund contributions totaled $7,309.32 in 2014. This money is used to support the Small Farm Project at the UCC Franklinton Center at Bricks. This is one component of the Just Food Project which supports a farmers' market held at FCAB where local small farmers sell their produce and local residents purchase affordable fresh vegetables and fruits. FCAB is located in eastern North Carolina in an area where many people are in poor health, experience food insecurity, and have poor access to healthy foods. The Small Farm Project is part of a comprehensive approach to comm unity economic development, environmental education, social justice, and health.
A Bitter Cup? Facts about Coffee and the Importance of Fair Trade
Coffee is one of the most heavily traded commodities in the world. Americans drink approximately 320 million cups of coffee every day;20 percent of the world's total coffee production. Some 20 million people near the equator depend on coffee for their livelihood, but for many the coffee trade keeps them trapped in poverty. With little access to markets, farmers often sell through middlemen who offer the lowest price possible. With world coffee prices in constant flux, farmers have no guarantee of how much they will receive for their crop.
Equal Exchange is a worker-owned fair trade company, founded in 1986, that offers consumers fairly traded gourmet coffee direct from small-scale farmer co-ops in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Equal Exchange seeks to establish an alternative model of trade, one that benefits small farmers directly through the following fair trade standards that apply to all Equal Exchange products:
- Always pay a guaranteed minimum price to the farmer.
- Work directly with democratic cooperatives of small scale farmers.
- Provide vital advance credit to farmers.
- Encourage ecologically sustainable farming practices.
- Develop long-term trade relations based on trust and respect.
- Offer consumers the finest gourmet, certified organic, shade-grown coffees.
Small Farmers. Big Change, a blog from Equal Exchange
Equal Exchange posts up-to-date resources to inform your congregation about Fair Trade. Check them out.
Fair World Project publishes For a Better World, a twice-yearly publication filled with articles and graphics that examines the issues and challenges in fair trade. It is a free publication with all past issues posted on-line.
Keep Plantations Out
TransFair USA, long a major certifying body for fair trade products, has changed its name to FairTrade USA and withdrawn from FLO International, the International Fair Trade Certifying body. Transfair USA has ceased to practice the original Fair Trade mission—to support small farmer organizations by helping them gain access to the international market. Equal Exchange, our partner in the UCC Coffee Project, left Transfair in the summer of 2010, to affiliate with another certification agency, IMO, the Institute of Market ecology, because, for example, Transfair USA had increasingly permitted products from large plantations to be certified as Fair Trade.
Here is the page on the UCC's economic justice web pages that explains the issues: Keep Fair Trade: Don't Weaken Standards.
Here is the World Fair Trade Organization's response to the Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair)/FLO split.