Before Matt entered the New Life Program (men’s residential addiction recovery) at Springs Rescue Mission, his work life was as desperate as his personal life.
He spent years spiraling further and further into addiction, which led to a year of job loss and unemployment.
“Before I went into the program, my work life was pretty shaky,” he said. “I had a lot of no-shows because I’d sleep through entire days. I’d last at a job through the first paycheck, spend it all on drugs and lose the job. My work ethic was good — I just wasn’t in a place where I could be a good employee.”
Shortly after coming to the Mission for help, Matt began helping out in Samaritan’s Kitchen through the Work Readiness job training program. He got used to working again and excelled, eventually transferring to Mission Catering (a social enterprise business of SRM). But it wasn’t his work ethic that propelled Matt’s professional life forward — it was his newfound relationship with God.
It was this mindset that made Matt a perfect fit for a job at “Samaritan Coffee at 225,” a new social enterprise business borne out of a collaboration between the Mission and First Presbyterian Church. Matt, now 32, graduated the New Life Program in May and became one of the café’s first baristas just a couple of months later.
“I want to be at work because I’m doing it for God,” he said. “Working here has really helped me because it’s taught me responsibility again — how to be a self-starter. … I think this place will bring men in the New Life Program closer to God and get them used to doing the right thing again. And it’s great to have a paycheck!”
First Pres previously operated Café 225 in a building the church owns at 225 N. Weber St. in downtown Colorado Springs. After that business closed last year, First Pres welcomed staff from Mission Catering and SRM’s other culinary programs to assume responsibility of operating the café earlier this year.
First Pres has long been a supporter and partner of the Mission, which has for years operated Mission Catering out of a kitchen space at the church. Leaders of each organization expressed excitement about the new collaboration and its potential for positive impact.
“I could not be happier to be collaborating with Springs Rescue Mission,” said First Pres Lead Pastor Tim McConnell. “First Pres loves to see lives transformed and second chances for struggling people. With God all things are possible. Samaritan Coffee at 225 is a vehicle for new futures, new hopes…new lives!”
The coffee shop endeavor won’t only transform lives through job training and employment; it will also serve as a new revenue stream to help our community’s most vulnerable residents. All proceeds from the new social enterprise will be used to support various Springs Rescue Mission programs aimed at helping individuals struggling with hunger, homelessness, unemployment and addiction in Colorado Springs.
“The coffee and the environment are top notch, but what really makes Samaritan Coffee at 225 great is that every purchase transforms lives,” said SRM Food & Beverage Director Jason Horn, who is also a graduate of the New Life Program. “You can see the difference you’re making with each cup.”
Samaritan Coffee at 225 will primarily be staffed by men in the New Life Program. The space will also serve as a training ground for these individuals; a place where they can learn skills that will help them find gainful employment upon graduation from the program.
The café will serve “Samaritan’s Blend” coffee, roasted by Building Three Coffee in Colorado Springs. Light breakfast and lunch items — breakfast burritos, soups, sandwiches and salads — will also be available at accessible prices, including pastries baked by Snowberry Bakehouse in Colorado Springs. At the café, customers can also purchase bags of the custom coffee blend, as well as shirts, mugs and stickers with First Presbyterian or Springs Rescue Mission branding (respectively).
Samaritan Coffee at 225 will maintain regular business hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and will be closed on weekends (Saturday and Sunday). Small conference rooms and the main dining area will be available on a limited basis for private events, such as meetings and receptions.
You can find Samaritan Coffee at 225 on Facebook HERE.
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