Battle plans for 2016

10 Jan 2016 | control

2015 was an amazing year. It far exceeded my expectations and I’m proud of how far we’ve come as an organisation and the community that has grown around it.

Today is our first day back and Big Kev is serving up amazing coffees. I had a good chance to relax over the break and deeply consider the direction this year ahead.

Last year, just like the years before, was exhausting. I literally spent over half my week off sleeping (I slept between 10 to 18 hours every day for 7 days). I feel great now and I’m rested and ready for the year but I want to set a new standard this year that’s maintainable indefinitely.

At Cup From Above, as a team, we have lived from crisis to crisis. Due to the sheer volume of dramas that we assist with we’ve operated something like a hospital ER. We haven’t really taken care of ourselves well, myself personally, nor my team. We eat between crises. We still don’t have a food licence so we eat pre-packaged food heated in a microwave… every day.

One of the men we supported in the community regularly through the tucker tokens had a heart attack last year and died. He was a father of four. He was only 37.

To have a heart attack at 37 he’d clearly made a lot of poor choices with his diet. We contributed to that by exclusively offering food that is high in fat & carbohydrates with no vegetables. I don’t think it’s our fault, it was a lifetime of bad choices, but we provided no alternative that was actually nutritious for him to be able to make a good choice. All of the cheapest options in Aspley are the most unhealthy. I believe we can do better.

Aspley is home to the first McDonalds in Queensland and has the highest amount of fast food outlets per capita in the region. Just my team, the people immediately involved in Cup From Above spend more money at the fast food outlets then at Cup From Above. Let alone all the people we support spend their meagre welfare allowance at the fast food outlets.

There are so many issues with this. We’ve lost value in our food. From the farmer to the plate everything is messed up.

The word nutrition comes from the latin word ‘nutrio’ which referred to a mother breastfeeding and nursing her baby. From that word nutrio we have a bunch of english words: nurse, nutrition, nursery, nourishment. They all refer to a fundamental nascent growth or repair that we all need. When someone is sick we say that we “nurse them back to health”. Or a gardener that has a nursery grows plants from seeds into seedlings. It’s the assistance from the mature fully developed parent/carer who is independent but willing to sacrificially gift both physical nutrients and emotional/spiritual/psychological nourishment.

Fast food does not nourish our bodies.

Our mission at Cup From Above is to “love & connect our community”. Eating fast food every day is not loving our bodies and it’s failing at creating significant connections.

This year we’re going to discover the benefits of living well nourished.

As a team we’re going to do classes and work together so that we eat nutritious food and from the abundance of being well nourished we will assist people out of that. We’re going to learn how to cook food well and prepare it together. We’re going to get in experts so we become really great at nutrition.

(Here’s a video of me discussing what’s in this blog post)

We’re going to start a fundraiser so that by the end of the year we have a food licence so we can prepare world class delicious healthy nutritious food to sell to the public and give away to people in crisis situations. We need somewhere between $15k & $50k to finish the kitchen to a standard so we can get a licence from council to prepare food onsite. That’s a huge variation because every time I speak to people I get a different amount of what things will cost. It’s been extremely frustrating. We’re going to fundraise all year for this and work on the project as the money comes in or the materials are donated. If it takes all of 2016 so be it. We need a kitchen (if you’d like to donate specifically towards this please get in touch). More than being able to give healthy nutritious food to people who are struggling it will create a couple of jobs for people who are currently on welfare in Aspley. It’s a great investment for the community and a win all round for everyone. I’m looking forward to this Christmas to be cooking in our own kitchen.

*UPDATE* The Kitchen Fundraiser is now running. If you would like to contribute please click here.

Beyond all this we will continue with all the great programs that have been successfully assisting people for the last three and a half years. The Cafe Chaplains will still be handing out food hampers everyday and a shoulder to cry on. Suspended Coffees will be given to homeless people everyday. Streetlight will continue connecting homeless people over a barbecue every Monday night. Every week we will be training people from disparate and diverse backgrounds how to make world class coffee and help them find great jobs in the hospitality industry.

We need more volunteers! Most importantly we need some more volunteers who can assist with administration type work. Filling out forms, applications, membership databasing, policy and procedure documenting, bookkeeping. All the fun stuff. We have a mixture of roles now. If you’re a seasoned barista/cafe worker and would like to assist on the hospitality team we’re always looking for people to assist with this. We always have jobs for a ‘handyman’… building planter boxes, landscaping, fixing things that customers break. If you’re a bloke with any hands on skills you would be hugely appreciated on the team. Business skills: if you have a knack for business and/or marketing we’re launching a separate social enterprise selling coffee beans. Kevin Kelly is spear heading that project but he would hugely appreciate some people to work with him. Horticulture skills: we have finally finished the garden but it’s a total shambles. The person who was overseeing it has gone back to prison. We are hoping to grow healthy nutritious food that can be given away to people in need. We’d like to eventually setup an aquaponics garden. If you’re interested in joining our team for any of these roles click the link here and apply for interview.

I’m looking forward to another incredible year with you all. Thank you for your ongoing support and working together with us to see such great things happen in our community.


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