Coffee + Purpose + Impact

The Fair 5 Challenge is coming to a close.  I have enjoyed working through the top five simple ways to start living an ethical lifestyle.  Obviously there are many more industries and issues (ie clothing and electronics) but the point is to start somewhere. I hope you learned a few things.  I know I did.

Fail trying, as Bob Goff says, don’t fail watching.  If you are looking for ways to create impact with your daily life start now and start with these five areas.  Creating impact can be as simple as how we spend our money (or choose not to spend at all).

If you are just now joining me, the Fair 5 Challenge has included easy ways to create impact in the following areas:

If you have been with me for a while, you know I have done a post on coffee.  I hope you don’t judge me for it, but I am reusing the post.  Technically it was written before the Fair 5 Challenge, but it’s my blog, so I make the rules.

Coffee holds a place in my heart, for multiple reasons.  I love the stuff.  I will drink good coffee any time and don’t have a shortage of opinions regarding it..  But my love of coffee goes deeper than just the drink.

I grew up in Oregon where my love of coffee started so coffee reminds me of home.   I can remember going to a coffee shop to listen to a college friend talk about her experience working with human trafficking back around 2005.  I didn’t know it then, but that night would eventually mold a dream and and passion to create impact.

But before I delve into that…coffee.

Our family loves beverages.  The husband brews beer and we have our wine clubs (yes, that is multiple).  Our newest beverage addition was a Chemex pour over coffee maker.  The husband, being a chemist by training, was very excited, and I get the pleasure of enjoying his delicious science experiments.  Saturday mornings now involve scales, the pursuit of the perfect grind and coffee from Africa that produces the best flavor.   We might have a problem.

Because of this love of coffee (I swear it’s not an addiction), I enjoy researching and finding awesome products and great independent coffee shops. For the love, I have too many opinions about coffee.

When you love something you learn about it. Even if you don’t like coffee, the global industry is so large and impacts so many people that this topic is still important. Like many other global industries this delicious beverage that so many of us love has a dark side.  There is a cost – a human cost – for the coffee I enjoy every day.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor discovered widespread labor violations in coffee farms in Hawaii. Violations included “failures to pay workers minimum wage and overtime, exploiting migrant workers, illegally hiring coffee pickers as independent contractors, and exploiting children as young as 5 years old to pick coffee cherries.” This happened here, in the U.S.

Read the full blog post.

We can do better, people. But back to that night in 2005 in the coffee shop.  A college friend worked with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) specifically in the area of human trafficking. My church arranged a session for her to discuss her travels and experience at this coffee shop.  I was deeply saddened by hearing about her experience, the statistics she shared and the things she had seen.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself trying to figure out what to do with my life. I believed Adventure God was calling me to create impact, but I couldn’t figure out how.  For a long time I thought I didn’t have any special gifts that God could use—that I wasn’t good enough.  That was a lie.  If you have these same thoughts, don’t believe them.  Don’t ever believe them.  I kept thinking about the things I was passionate about: coffee, food, people and causes (specifically poverty and trafficking issues).  I love organizing, managing projects, and helping people.  I did a lot of customer service.  For a long time those things didn’t seem to have a connection.

But Adventure God kept poking me.  A friend at church says that God stalked her.  I get that feeling.  When you have that itch that you were made for more, don’t ignore it.  Your dreams and passions matter.

Now I know where I am going and the purpose I have. All those disparate “things” have been put together into a dream and a plan.  My big purpose and impact will be to create a non-profit coffee shop and community center where proceeds fund prevention of human trafficking and exploitation locally and globally.  I love coffee (yeah, you know that already).  But coffee and business can do good, create positive impact and bring people together.

Adventure God has given me a vision of a community coming together to vote with their dollar and create impact in their community and around the world.   I have a vision of the most vulnerable in my community being safe, cared for and shown dignity. Sometimes that might come from a cup of coffee. Here you will know people and be known.  You will have a safe place and can affect change.

I want to live on mission to show that we are all created in the Imago Dei (image of God) and all have dignity and worth–that pro-life goes beyond abortion and means caring for the refugee, immigrant, marginalized and the “other”.

But these things aren’t possible first without Adventure God, and second without an engaged community working together to do better.  This blog has been a starting point to talk about these issues.  But in the next few months I will be sharing my journey of starting this non-profit coffee and community center.  Join me.  Subscribe to get email updates and please share with others who might share this passion.

Now I want to hear from you.  What are your passions and dreams?  You were made for impact and purpose.  What is that thing, or idea you think is impossible, or the pieces that don’t seem to fit?

If your dreams or passions scare you when you think about doing them then you are on the right track!  The scariest things will be the most worthwhile in the end.  The book Justice Calling says “if your dreams don’t scare you than they are too small.”   But if you have that itch for more, than join me.  Share what your heart aches for.  What skills, talents and passions do you have that could help others?

Let’s build an engaged community, in Arizona, across the country and the world that believes we can do better and work together to create impact, find purpose and value life.

Categories: Consumerism, Create Impact, Fair TradeTags: ,

About Callie Unruh

I am an passionate wife, mother, wanna be radical, aspiring entrepreneur and recovering evangelical. I am working to create a life of impact in the suburbs of Phoenix and enjoy gardening, hiking and being outside.

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