By Ka'thy Gore Chappell, BWIMNC Exective Director
These days, coffee and sandwich shops serve as office space for Baptist Women in Ministry of North Carolina. In addition to providing access to food, beverage, restrooms and free wi-fi, these venues are unique places to work, schedule meetings and observe people. (No, I am not becoming a stalker.)
Last week, while hosting BWIM NC meetings in Charlotte and Boiling Springs, I had the opportunity to meet and work at the recently re-opened coffee shop, KIND, located across the street from Gardner-Webb University. It was a hot but beautiful day and since students are just beginning to return to campus, parking was easy. As I entered the coffee shop, Kheresa Harmon, Director of Admissions at Gardner-Webb School of Divinity and BWIM NC board member, was already engaged in conversation with the barista. We greeted each other and Kheresa immediately introduced me to the barista who was also eager to welcome me.
The barista’s name was Mariah and as she prepared to take our beverage orders and serve us, Kheresa introduced us by giving details about each other that made it more comfortable for us to identify, then, connect with each other. I learned that in addition to working as a barista, Mariah is also a divinity student pursuing a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies at Gardner-Webb. Immediately I asked Mariah if I could take her photo and possibly interview her for posting on social media with the BWIM NC Facebook page. (LIKE our Facebook page).
Upon talking with Mariah, I learned that she applied for a job as a barista at KIND because she identifies with the philosophy of the coffee shop to support fair, direct trade and world-wide labor rights. I also learned that the purpose of the local coffee shop and its’ employees is “to go out of your way to make space for community” by providing a clean, welcoming space for guests, offering delicious and healthy food and beverages and then, donating employee tips to feed children in Cleveland County (which is the county where Gardner-Webb University is located). During the first month the coffee shop was open, baristas, servers and staff donated $2,000 to their charity.
Obviously, the owners of KIND have created a philosophy and ultimately, a community that gives rise to a Christ-like passion for the world, county and university by its’ employees and customers. To me, the coffee shop, KIND, is the ultimate example of a company who thinks globally and acts locally.” KINDinspires me to do the same. How about you?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.