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Start Up!

By | incubation, Non-profit | No Comments

We have a lot of money to raise. Our start-up costs are budgeted at $122,156. That’s a lot of money, but let’s look at why that is.

We are a non-profit. Non-profit start-ups typically have a small sum to raise when they are first getting off the ground, and the amount needed increases as they grow.

Image by _J_D_R_ on Flickr

Purple Door Coffee is a non-profit, but our model is more business based, and so we have a large sum to raise in order to open as a business. Once that money is raised we can open our doors and begin generating revenues which will decrease the amount of money that we need to raise with each sale.

We have a goal of being fully self-sustaining after three years of being open. There is beauty in this model. The amount we have to raise now is large, but in the long run this model provides sustainability to our ministry–which is very exciting.

Once we begin having a surplus of funds we hope to be able to take those funds and use them to serve the same population in a new way.

Our $122,156 figure is a big, and it is sometimes difficult to see past it. We are very intentional about maintaining a long term view of the ministry we are engaging in. While we hope to reduce this number through donations of equipment, furniture, labor, etc., this is the amount needed if we were to purchase and pay for every item and service in the process. And in the long run, this is a very reasonable number.

We have raised just over $16,000 of this initial start up cost. We still have a long way to go, but we are so thankful for those who have bought into this mission and vision of Purple Door Coffee and have shown that through financial gifts.

If you are interested in partnering with us as we journey towards helping our friends establish life off the streets click here to see how to donate.
Please contact us if you have questions about our model or our budget.

Inconvenience or Major Setback?

By | incubation, organization, Street Life | No Comments

Sometimes on the streets there is just a weird vibe. Last night was one of those nights. I still can’t put my finger on it.

Thursday nights are spent with Dry Bones at their weekly bowling event and hot meal downtown. Dry Bones gets a bus and takes everyone that shows up out to a bowling alley. We are there for a little over an hour, load back up onto the bus and head downtown where a hot meal is waiting.

Image by divinemisscopa on Flickr

To start the weirdness, the crowd at bowling was a lot smaller than usual. Which is fine. It was just different. At the meal we had about the normal amount, maybe a few more than normal. As weather gets nicer the population at the outdoor events tends to grow. There were a lot of kids that were just passing through last night–hitchhikers and train hoppers mostly. It’s interesting to see that culture interact with the mainstays here in Denver.

Most of the individuals that I have gotten close to in the past few months were either gone, or just not themselves last night. They weren’t as happy to see me, or anyone really. Most didn’t feel like talking. They pretty much wanted to get some food and head out.

In processing last night I have realized how little things impact our friends on the streets in much more dramatic ways, and so that can affect their moods and actions in a bigger way.

Example 1: If I miss a meal that is being offered for free, I can get into my car drive to a restaurant and buy food. If my friends miss that meal, they sleep hungry that night.

Example 2: If I lose my ID, I can grab my birth certificate and social security card which are kept safely, and go to the DMV and wait and have the problem resolved in a day. If our friends lose their ID, they need to track down their birth certificate and social security card. If they are missing one or both, what is a several hour process for me could be a 6 month or longer journey for our friends.

Example 3: If I wear out a pair of shoes I can: 1) Change to a different pair that I already own 2) Buy a new pair. If my friends’ shoes wear out, they must wear them until they can get some for free, and those have probably already been worn by other people, or they won’t fit quite right, or try to save some money to buy some. Since our friends walk a lot of the places that they need to go, a bad pair of shoes is very noticeable to them.

These are just simple things that I gave little to no thought to prior to working with this population. But when you live in these conditions a bad day is amplified greatly. So, if a few of our friends are having a bad day, it’s noticeable in the group.

Everyone has bad days, it’s just that our friends’ days can get pretty bad, pretty fast. This just really helped me see the need for love in the lives of our friends on the streets.

And in regards to Purple Door, we’re trying to make it so the little things aren’t as big in the lives of our friends. We want them to be able to have a job and earn money so that they can buy the things that they need. We want them to learn skills on how to deal with issues that arise in a healthy way. We want to walk with them as they journey to a level of stability that makes every day inconveniences into simply that–an inconvenience–instead of an issue that is going to set them back a great deal.

Hope. Story. Humor

By | Homeless Youth | No Comments

We’re working on a video for Purple Door Coffee. We have interviewed some of our friends in various stages of connection with street life. Some that are young in the culture on the streets, others that have been away from Street Kid culture for awhile, and still others that are right in the middle of the culture. We asked questions about job history, life goals, experiences in the workplace, job market–the areas we specifically are seeking to impact.

Image by laRuth on Flickr

We really just tried to have conversation with a camera on, and there were a few things that struck me in these conversations:

1. Hope. There is hope everywhere on the streets. Our friends have goals to be veterinarians, own their own house, get married, own their own businesses. But that hope doesn’t seem to be enough to get them there. They have too many roadblocks right now, and so their hope is frequently deferred. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that when hope is deferred it makes the heart sick.

I have seen this from time to time on the streets. Our friends will be hopeful about their future and hit road block after road block which then turns into depression or destructive behaviors or other signs of having a “sick heart”. So, at Purple Door Coffee we’re trying to remove some of those road blocks and help grow that hope that is in the hearts of our friends so that they can really work towards their goals with some success! The second half of Proverbs 13:12 says “but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

2. Each story is intensely personal. When asked about my job history I can rattle off the jobs I’ve had in my life pretty quickly. There are some interesting stories that arose when I worked at the grocery store or when I was a go-kart attendant, but no painful memories. Our friends on the streets have had very different experiences in the work place.

Some have been victimized in some way, whether by being exploited and cheated out of money or experiencing some sort of abuse or harassment. These interviews helped me see the struggle that employment is for those that have been pushed to the edge of our society. We hope to help them find a path to sustainable employment in a healthy, just and safe environment.

3. Humor is a good thing. Even in the middle of their tough situations our friends maintain their humor. They’re funny. We laughed a good amount when chatting for our video, and we seem to laugh a lot when we hang out in general. Laughing is a good thing. We hope to provide a place that teaches job skills and helps our friends rebuild lives, yes. We also plan to laugh together!

Be looking for the new video in the not too distant future! Blessings to you!

Community: Part 2

By | collaborative ministry, incubation | No Comments

Looking back at all the stages of my life, what is most memorable is not the houses/apartments I lived in, the cars I drove, the job that I worked at. What is most memorable is the community that surrounded me. When I think of my time at College, I don’t think of my class schedule or my work study jobs, I think of my friends, my professors, my church community. When I think of growing up I think of the people I went to school with, the people I worked with, the families that were in my life. Community is what shapes a life experience.

Image by thelesleyshow on Flickr

This is why creating a community in our space is so important. It is very important that Purple Door Coffee is a place of love and belonging for all who enter. If you don’t know where our name comes from, historically the color purple has been associated with royalty. We desire to treat all people like royalty–from customer, to vender, to employee. The Door symbolizes an opportunity to a new life. So, our desire to create authentic, transformative community is right in our name.

While working to open, a big aspect of what we are doing is connecting to the Christian community in the city of Denver in order to share our heart and our vision, and with the hopes that the community of believers will embrace what we are up to and create a living, vibrant community in our space when we open.

Community is very important because many of our friends on the streets have experienced only one accepting community in their lives–that is the community present on the streets. This alone can cause difficulty in trying to distance oneself from street life. Their is love shared between our friends on the streets, but that same community is where many of the decisions are made that keep them on the streets.

With the community we create at Purple Door we hope to draw on the positive aspects of the community experienced on the streets and replace the negative aspects with positive community as our employees seek to begin a new life. Until our friends find and connect to a new community it is nearly impossible to exit street life. It is so important that our friends are surrounded with healthy and loving community as they seek to start fresh.

We cannot create this community alone and ask that you partner with us in our journey to shape a healthy, accepting community that is a true testament to the love of God.