Caffeinated Charity

by Kara Gibbs '96

Discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia in the 9th century, coffee was mainly used, originally, for religious purposes. Today, that legacy continues as Stoney Creek Roasters, located in downtown Cedarville, Ohio, partners with The Luke Commission to help the people of Swaziland.

So, what do a nonprofit organization and a coffee shop have in common? The story begins in 2005 when Grace Minor became a nanny for Dr. Harry and Mrs. Echo VanderWal ’96, the founders of The Luke Commission. Grace had heard that a physician’s assistant needed help with her triplets and newborn son. Two years later, she traveled with the VanderWals to Swaziland, a small, impoverished country in southern Africa.

The Luke Commission provides free medical care, medications, health education, vision care, eyeglasses, and the hope of the Gospel to families, schools, AIDS orphans, and others who have nowhere else to turn in Swaziland.

Grace’s brother, Taylor, and parents, Craig and Carrie, opened Stoney Creek Roasters in August 2008. They soon introduced a Luke Commission blend of coffee beans, with half of the proceeds from each purchase going to the organization. The Minors also collect used prescription glasses, a much-needed aid for the people of Swaziland.

On November 8, Cedarville University’s Women of Vision organization will join the Swaziland Volunteer Team to host a dinner and charity auction called An Evening in Swaziland.  Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on unique items during the live and silent auctions.

So, if you find yourself walking down Main Street in Cedarville, make sure to stop by Stoney Creek for a nonfat café mocha with a shot of caramel and grab your special bag of Luke Commission coffee beans while you’re there. Don’t forget to ask the Minors how you can get involved — they’d be glad to tell you how their passion for ministry and their passion for coffee are being used to help further the Kingdom.

As you step back outside, you might notice that the shop next door is becoming the headquarters for The Luke Commission. The primary function will be to process the used prescription glasses. By figuring out the prescription now, they can quickly expedite the glasses to the field. Several Cedarville students have volunteered their time to help this ministry.

Stoney Creek is not alone in contributing to The Luke Commission. Just this year, Miami Valley Hospital donated incubators, and the Lions Club of Illinois donated school supplies and more than 3,000 t-shirts for Swazi children.