On a campus where TOMS shoes and mission trips are popular, it stands to reason that the coffee that students rely on would meet socially-minded standards.
The Hub is currently selling CityKid Java with a poster detailing its mission, having sold the product for several years.
However, CityKid Java is more than a socially responsible roaster.
“We don’t just write a check and are separated from the ministry itself. When you come, you see the kids, the ministry. We not only work in coffee, we intimately know the kids and minister to them,” said Mark Lundquist, vice president of Urban Ventures, which CityKid Java is a program within.
“It doesn’t do good to help kids here and harm them in those regions,” said Emily Duma, the social media and marketing intern. “It’s like we are paying it forward. A cup of coffee goes to improve a program, which helps kids break the circle of poverty. We’re trying to be good across the board. For us, it’s important to give back and do what we can locally, next door.”
All of the profits go to kids’ programs in Urban Ventures, including tutoring, music classes and athletic opportunities.
Through this, they are attempting to help break the cycle of generational poverty.
“The aim is to get kids to know who made them, why, and for what purpose. In doing that a kid will have more interest in discovering God’s purpose rather than join a gang, commit crime or sell drugs,” Lundquist said.
As for the coffee itself, CityKid Java is registered with the Rainforest Alliance, which ensures proper housing conditions, food, clean water and education of the family in coffee growing regions.
“It’s a circle of justice. We don’t just help locally, we help overseas,” Lundquist said.
However, that was not enough to satisfy them. CityKid Java instructs their buyers to pay 25 cents a pound more for fair trade, which adds up when buying over 100,000 lbs. of coffee a year.
“We always thought we could do better,” Lundquist said.
This idea has been catching on in the corporate community. CityKid Java is sold in Cargill, Wells Fargo and Best Buy locations to employees, as well as to the public through Target, Cub Foods, and colleges such as Northwestern.
“I’ve actually run out of flex money from buying so much coffee,” said junior Sarah Kaltenbach. “I think CityKid Java is a really good cause because it gives back to the community.”