My professional background prior to marrying Lance was working with non-profits. The frustrating thing for me was that a lot of non-profit work was spent raising money. As I shifted my occupation after marriage I had a desire to create an engine in business that would help fund projects that spark transformation in people’s lives. So why not raise money doing something that people do everyday like drinking coffee and tea? Transformation Tea!
My Connection to Ukraine
This month we have the opportunity to do something that I am passionate about. Like many of you I have been so burdened and grieved over the situation in Ukraine. I have had a relationship with a couple in my church, Mike & Myra Watkins, who have been working in Ukraine since the early 90’s. So when my barista, Lisa, suggested that we make a Ukrainian Tea to help raise funds for Ukraine, I was so excited to see if we could do something with our customers to make a difference to people under siege. Here is a little about my connection with this project.
Myra Lovelace Watkins is a Raleigh native (Broughton Highschool graduate) and a UNC graduate for all of our local customers. She and her husband Mike started a community of faith in Ukraine and continue to serve the people of Eastern Europe. They are currently helping congregations led by local leadership in their refugee relief efforts, and this includes the Western Ukrainian cities of Angelivka, Berezhany, Buchach, Lviv, Novodnistrovsk, Sokiryani, and Ternopil. I had the privilege to work and live in New York City alongside Mike and Myra in 2005 when they were working with a Slavic church in New York. I prefer to give where I have relationship and know the people doing the work, but also where I have a more direct connection to the people they are serving. This is a faith based Christian organization.
Here is what the funds are being used for:
Here is a report from Mike: “Our Ukrainian churches in Lviv and Ternopil are housing and feeding up to 300 refugees per day Funds have covered food, beds, washer and dryer, refrigerator (basic upkeep for refugees). We provide food and stipends for the refugees as they continue their journey into western Europe We fund the aid convoys that are going into Kyiv and other besieged cities to take in tons of supplies and take out hundreds of people. We are shipping supplies from Poland into western Ukraine because Ukraine is depleted due to the refugee influx from the conflict zones. Here is an example from the Ternopil church: “Since the beginning of the war we have evacuated more than 300 people from Kyiv, took 500 people to the Polish border, distributed 8 tons of humanitarian aid, we have housed more than 3,000 refugees in our church!“
You can see an interview with the Ukrainians here: https://give.everynation.org/donate/disaster-relief-ukraine. Also follow us on Instagram @Soms_Cafe or FB @SomsCafeRDU for updates on our giving.
About the blend:
I asked my local Ukrainian friend for advice and she shared with me a popular Ukrainian tea. We were able to get some forest fruits from the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine to add to our custom blend inspired the Ukrainian tea. It is a beautiful black and green tea blend with fruit forward flavors and a floral finish. 50% of the proceeds from this blend will support emergency relief to Ukrainians.