Holy Joe's Cafe' Launches its own Non-profit

At the August 28, 2017 Church Council Meeting, Holy Joe's Cafe', which has been a ministry of our church since 2006, was voted to become it's own separate 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Holy Joe's Cafe', Inc. The paperwork has been completed, their Board formed, their approval from the State of Connecticut finalized, and their federal 501(c)3 status pending, meaning that now donations to Holy Joe's can go directly to the new entity. The mission of providing coffee, tea and hot chocolate to military chaplains and the troops continues!

What started as one church’s vision in 2006 to send coffee to one Air Force Base in Iraq, Sather Air Force Base, has grown to an enormous mission serving troops in 70 countries around the world.  

Holy Joe’s Cafe’ started out in November 2003 as Chaplain Timothy M. Sturgill’s idea to draw more people to the chapel.  He developed this outreach program as a way of providing the troops at Sather Air Force Base with a place where they could socialize and receive emotional and spiritual support in a relaxed atmosphere before and/or after the tension of being on duty.

Eloise Hazelwood, serving in Iraq with the public health service, brought Chaplain Sturgill’s outreach project to our attention.  Since June 2, 2006 our congregation has been supporting Holy Joe’s by donating coffee, tea and cocoa mix, as well as monies for shipping.  

Tom Jastermsky, a member of our Diaconate at the time, took the ball and ran with it, contacting large companies, such as Green Mountain Coffee and the Bigelow Tea Company, for donations of coffee and tea.  He also arranged for the complicated process of shipping, and church members Carol Wallace at Cooper-Atkins and Steve Knight aided extensively with this.

As we know,  Holy Joe’s grew beyond anyone’s dreams of what was possible through Tom’s dedicated work.  It grew so large that it was no longer practical to manage it through the church, so it’s own non-profit was established.  We hope this will provide a wider audience to Holy Joe’s mission and open new avenues for fund-raising.

The Church Council thanks the congregation of First Congregational Church for their support of this unique and important ministry since it’s inception.  We thank Kathy Filkins, Dave Gessert, Eloise Hazelwood, Tim Keogh, Steven Knight, Tom Leffingwell, Jim McFarland, Bob Swick, Michele Tarantino, Carol Wallace, and Rev. Dean Warburton for their material support, advice and guidance.  

We thank Eloise Hazelwood for first articulating the need for coffee based on her experience in Iraq, and Steve Hazelwood for first sharing this need with the congregation. From such tiny mustard seeds, amazing growth is possible.

We especially thank Tom Jastermsky for fulfilling this vision beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.  Without Tom’s commitment to this ministry, it would never have become so successful and have served so many.  

We wish Holy Joe’s Cafe’, Inc. God’s blessing and continued success in service to our troops.

Please visit www.holyjoes.org to support our military chaplains doing God's work.

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