Battleplans for 2017

10 Jan 2017 | Adam

Last year we scored some epic goals.  We’re now serving high quality nutritious food to people in crisis every day.  We provide 30 to 100 meals each week through the various programs.  Just the same as with coffee we’ve begun training people how to prepare food for to find employment in the hospitality industry. This year we hope to revive our “Grandma’s Kitchen” program so we can continue to teach people who are struggling how to prepare healthy nutritious meals.

You may remember the story I told you this time last year about the father who passed away from a heart attack at 37 which inspired me to get serious about changing things.  We’ve been continuing to support his widow.  She has been in and out of homelessness but fortunately our cafe chaplains have been there to support her consistently.  She’s also been able to enjoy some nutritious meals from the new kitchen.  We’re obviously too late to help effectively… or at least ideally in their situation.  We can only decrease the pain and discomfort of an awful situation.  But we now we have the infrastructure to end the cycle for the next generation.

So what’s next…

We plan to have Cup From Above open 7 days a week so that we can provide uninterrupted community support 365 days a year.  To be able to do this we have increased our paid staff to compliment our generous volunteers so that everyone gets at least 1 day off each week to rest.  

To have a chaplain available 7 days a week the community will need to invest exactly $87,442.44.  This works out to about 60 hours a week.  Some of this is currently pledged for in weekly/monthly donations with cash direct debits or by purchasing time tokens.  Time tokens have been $25 for a while now but we need to raise that to $30 (maybe even $35 to cover penalty rates).  The chaplains here are dealing with nasty and complex emotionally draining problems day in day out that no-one else wants to deal with.  They deserve to be paid at least what Fair Work Australia say the minimum is.  If we don’t step in and address and remedy these problems you still have to pay for it through taxes for prison cells, welfare, hospital wards, etc.  By being proactive it’s actually cheaper for everyone AND it’s the better way to do it.

If you’d like to make a one off donation or even better pledge $30 per week to cover 1 hour of their time you can do that via the link here  

I’m excited to announce we’re preparing to replicate Cup From Above.  Once our cafe chaplains are fully paid I will be able to focus on expanding Cup From Above to the worst locations throughout Brisbane to restore hope, alleviate poverty, create jobs all funded forever by serving world class coffee and food. 

Our 10 year mission is to build 21 Cup From Above Community Cafes throughout SE Queensland.  Our Aspley store has seen Aspley transformed.  With 21 stores we can change Brisbane and Queensland forever. 

To hit the ground running we need $70k to open the next store.  Cup From Above is not just a cafe… it’s the intricate social programs we offer that focus on fostering healthy interdependent relationships and reliably offering support via our cafe chaplains and community network.  We could probably start a cafe with less but we need sufficient capital to do it well.  We aim to open the next store within a 10 minute drive of Aspley so that when there’s an emergency it’s easy to share staff and volunteers between locations. 

Honestly our priority is getting our current chaplains fully paid first but if you would like to donate specifically towards this venture (a bunch of you have said this) then you can via the link here.  Please use the description #moreCFA.  I’ll setup a page on the website with a thermometer to track this at some point as it gathers momentum later in the year.  Watch this space. 

While preparing for all these great new ventures I just really want to enjoy where we are at right now.  We’ve fought so hard for this. 

Our ongoing goals this year for Aspley are much the same… I guess we just wanna do them better

  1. Build up a strong community membership base ($20 per year each) of 500 (currently 300) people so that we’re independently sustainable forever without need of outside funding.
  2. Operate a world class cafe which is financially successful and makes at least $500 per week “profit for purpose” to be used to build our local community.
  3. 6 Jobs:  Empower 6 people with barriers to employment and help them find an independently sustainable authentic and meaningful occupation.
  4. Love and Connect the community through building healthy interdependent relationships. 

I’d also like to add in here that I want us to buy the land Cup From Above is on.  We’re about to sign another 6 year lease.  At the moment the very idea is financially outrageous.  Quite literally a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into building where we are.  It just seems right.  I estimate we’d need at least $200k deposit.  As the organisation grows this may become possible and we will have to weigh up whether it’s worthwhile investing in our real estate over increased community services.  This equation is morally and strategically problematic for me.  However I believe this is necessary to address now or it won’t ever happen.  As much as I love what we have physically built here on this site the greatest and most precious thing we have built is a strong community.  This isn’t tied to any specific building, it’s scattered through the strong relationships that we have developed in homes all throughout Aspley.  Circumstances may change, if so that’s okay, but I want this land. 

On a different note it’s great seeing you all enjoying the coffee and the new tasty nutritious selections available on our menu.  For years I was embarrassed to be serving up those greasy croissants in plastic bags.  I’m so glad that season is over!  I’m really proud of our hospitality team.  They’re all so great.  I mean they’re great people to work with but also the product they’re serving up is actually really really great.  I can boast because I don’t work in the cafe anymore!  It seems it’s not just my opinion but evidenced by sales tripling in December/January which is generally our worst financial month (cause people drink less hot coffee in hot weather).  I’m glad our hardcore members stuck with us through the years before we were actually good.  Thanks for the sympathy purchases during that time guys!  I never wanted Cup From Above to be like that.  I don’t like linking charity with poverty.  I believe quality is a mindset and a value we choose to embrace or not.  We got that with our coffee from the outset through training our baristas.  More than teaching the skills to be a barista what we did that was different was teach the value of excellence.  Our kids aren’t taught that lesson in prison and special ed units.  Instead of increasing our patience and our hope for them we mistakenly take the easy road and just lower our expectations denying them of what they’re truly capable of.  I guess this is what Cup From Above is restoring.

I look forward to journeying with you all this year and this exciting new phase of Cup From Above.  Thanks for being a part of this tribe and contributing to really making a difference in our world.

Adam James

Founder & CEO

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3 responses to “Battleplans for 2017”

  1. Sue Rienecker says:

    Hi Adam
    I am blown away by your posts and your ability to represent Jesus in the Aspley community, a community which I lived in and worked in as a teacher until recently.
    I applaud your vision for 2017. I support as I can and would love to join the Mon night team this year.
    Last year I hosted a “Blessed to be a blessing” birthday event where I invited friends to come and bless me with their presence and bless others by giving an anonymous
    donation. I was blown away and was able to use that money to support Valley Street ministry, but Street Swags and come into Cup from Above and purchase Suspended Coffee and Tucker Tokens.
    I plan to do this event again when my birthday rolls around in Feb but have decided this year all money raised will come to CFA.
    God bless you as you continue to do amazing work with the gifts God has blessed you with.
    Kind regards,
    Sue Rienecker

  2. Jenny Pemble says:

    Hi Adam you are doing a fantastic job and when I worked at GIVIT ‘Cup from Above’ was one of my favourite charities among the hundreds I worked with. I would love to volunteer in any capacity to help get the new ventures up and running. I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards Jenny Pemble

  3. Keryn says:

    Wow Adam, that is such an exciting and doable vision. Workload for all the different activities spread across many, people using their God-given gifts, the team working together, each piece of the puzzle is valuable. Whether you are the person giving $30 per week to pay one hour of the chaplain working, or volunteering on Monday night, or working in the cafe, or buying a coffee and meal and paying it forward. God blesses that kind of industry! Leaving egos behind and keeping the vision set before, running that race to the finish line. Go team Cup From Above! Shine brightly in dark places!

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