As someone who has "gifts" as one of their major love languages, I LOVE Christmas. Its a time that we celebrate that amazing gift of love given to us in the form of the tiny Baby Jesus. And its a time when we in turn, can show our love to others thru gifts.
One of the things I'm trying to do this year, is give presents that are truly meaningful. I want to give something that not only blesses the recipient, but goes beyond that. I want to give presents that bless four ways:
1. They bless the recipient.
2. They bless the people you bought them from and/or the people who benefit from the money you spend.
3. They bless you because you fee good about not only making your loved ones feel loved, but you feel good knowing your gifts have an important purpose.
4. You bless God because we're told that whatever we do for the "least of these", we do for Him.
During this time leading up to Christmas, I want to spotlight some sources for gifts that will use the money made to truly make this world a better place.
The first is SAINTS COFFEE. The folks over at Saint's Coffee are more than just serious about making a really good cup of java, they are serious about helping some very needy children.
Brett Irwin, of Saint's Coffee, has been gracious enough to do a virtual bloggy interview for the Musings from Graceland readers. Hope it inspires you to dream big...and buy a lot of coffee.
Welcome Brett Irwin, of SAINT'S COFFEE. I'd like my readers to get to know you and why a purchase of SAINT'S COFFEE is something that goes beyond just plunking down some money for a cup of joe.
I’ll caveat all my answers with, I have a degree in engineering and spent almost 14 years in the military; my life experiences and natural propensities lead me to short concise answers. That’s why we have Tom Davis; he’s the well-spoken, prolific-writer, high-energy, pretty-face of Saint’s.
First of all, would you please give us a short bio of WHO Brett Irwin is?
Fourth of five children, grew up in a Christian home outside of Philadelphia, attended Penn State and finished my education at CSULB. Husband of Nicole (my bride of 14 plus years), father of Landon (10) and Carson (8), ski addict, ex Army CH-47 pilot, frustrated telecommunications professional turned causal marketer…
Do you have any heroes of the faith or books that have spurred you in your life journey?
My favorite bible character is by far, Joseph. No matter what “life” threw at him, he trusted in God’s faithfulness and goodness and didn’t allow his present circumstances to lead him to doubt and sin. I love everything by C.S. Lewis. While deployed in Iraq, I read, Safely Home by Randy Alcorn and Waking the Dead by John Bevere more than once. I could listen to Ravi Zacharias speak indefinitely. My local pastor, Kelly Williams, amazes me every Sunday with his insight and straight-from-the-bible preaching. Last, but not least, my friend Tom Davis has a passion for the orphan that is so contagious that you can’t spend a moment with him without being caught up in it – thanks for living out your passion Tom. My favorite quote, by Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose”.
How and why did you come up with the concept of SAINT'S COFFEE?
This past June, Tom and I were sitting with a few others overlooking the Crocodile River in South Africa, just outside of Krueger National Park (incredible place). We were brainstorming fundraising ideas in order to meet the desperate need of the widows and orphans we’d met over our one-month stay in Swaziland. Web-based coffee popped into my head - it’s the second highest traded commodity in the world behind oil. There are no storefronts to worry about, almost everyone I know (every normal person anyway) drinks coffee, it’s fast, cheap and easy to start. Also, I have a buddy, Todd, who roasts the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.
The name Saint’s Coffee was Tom’s idea (although Emily, his wife, might beg to differ…). We loved the idea of a Saint, a protector of the less fortunate. I love the concept that just by providing something that people use everyday, we can change kids lives. Just imagine if every company operated this way… we could end world hunger and extreme poverty in no time…
Would you tell us about your coffee...how it compares to other brands?
Probably the biggest difference between Saint’s and most other coffees out there is the process we use to roast our beans. While most companies use a drum method wherein the beans and any chaff that burns off during the roasting process stay together, we use a fluid bed roasting process similar to the air popcorn poppers used in the ‘80’s. With our process any chaff that burns off during roasting is immediately blown away therefore we end up with a much cleaner tasting coffee. Also, because our process takes less time then the average drum roaster, we end up with a coffee with less acidity. All of our coffees are 100% Fair Trade and Organic – there’s not much point of giving to kids on the back side of the transaction if you’re sticking it to the farmers on the front side. Lastly, all of our coffee is fresh roasted after an order is place – we don’t pre-roast our coffee.
And how exactly is the money used to benefit orphans?
We guarantee that we will feed an orphan for a month from the proceeds from the sale of every pound of coffee. We can do this by taking advantage of the buying power of organizations like Children’s HopeChest and 5for50. They can buy the food in bulk and have the staff on the ground to get it to the people that need it.
How much coffee have y'all sold so far and where are some interesting places we might find folks brewing your beans?
We’ve been in business just over 2 months and have sold 598 pounds thus far. Probably the most interesting place our beans are being brewed is Swaziland. Although we only sell here in the continental U.S to both individuals and churches, I recently sent some Saint’s Coffee home with a friend who lives in Swaziland with his family. They minister to some of the very kids fed through Saint’s Coffee.
What has been the biggest challenge involved with SAINT'S COFFEE?
Time. Getting the four primary people involved with Saint’s in a room at the same time is a major undertaking.
What has been the biggest reward?
Knowing that there are very real children halfway around the world whose lives are being impacted by what we’re doing.
Any plans for the future that you'd like to tell us about?
For Saint’s, it would be to continue to grow the business at a manageable pace. Our current effort is towards recruiting churches – they order regularly and they get the concept. For me personally, the idea was always that Saint’s would be just one of several like businesses.
Besides buying SAINT'S COFFEE for personal consumption, what are some other ways that folks can support this ministry business?
Convince your church that they need to be selling Saint's Coffee at their café. Tell your neighbors, your family, strangers you meet on the street about Saint’s.
In closing, is there anything else you'd like Graceland's readers to know about you, SAINT'S COFFEE, or WHATEVER!?
I’d like to encourage your readers that if they ever have an opportunity to go visit a place God’s put on their hearts, by all means go. You can read about it, see it on TV, have others tell you about it, but there’s nothing like experiencing it firsthand. You’ll be ruined for normal life :) .
Thank you, Brett, and because I'm so excited about your company, I want as many people to know about it...and I want as many orphans as possible to be helped. I'm sponsoring a drawing for a free pound of Saint's Coffee.
All you have to do to be entered, is visit http://www.saintscoffee.com/ and peruse their product offerings. Then come back here and tell me in a comment which coffee you'd like to win a pound of. I'll close the drawing on Monday, November 19 at noon central time and hold the drawing sometime later on that day. I'll then contact the winner about getting them some coffee-with-purpose shipped fresh right to you.
Increase your chances of winning 2 ways:
- Post about this drawing at your blog and include the link to this entry then leave me a separate comment letting me know that along with a direct link to that blog entry.
- Post the SAINT'S COFFEE logo with a link to their site on your blog sidebar and again, leave me a separate comment notifying me of the sidebar imbed.
Your interest in SAINT'S COFFEE is greatly appreciated and whether or not you win the drawing, your support of this company and its mission is promoting something genuinely good in this world.
Brett with a Swazi child Children's HopeChest is ministering to in practical ways.