Purpose over profit. That is the mission behind The Red Porch.
I was working at an organization that runs programs for developmentally disabled adults when they partnered with the owners of an old office building to create a very unique coffee house. This café would be used as a training facility for developmentally disabled adults. The project heads knew I had coffee knowledge, so they pulled me onto the project as manager.
In the initial planning stages, I discovered how much God’s hand was involved in the project.
The staff and I set aside a day to taste pastries and coffee drinks to determine which ones would become part of our menu. Suddenly, I heard a knock on the door and found a sunburned, ragged-looking man at the door. He asked for water and a restroom. I obliged. The thought came to me to offer him more since we had all this spread of coffee and pastries. He gladly accepted, and explained he was walking across the country to give witness to God. “I don’t have the strength, but God has the strength to carry me through.” His words stayed with me. What an amazing witness to the faith. The man asked if he could pray over us. We joyously accepted the road warrior’s blessing, and the café, The Red Porch, has been a huge success ever since.
We have the support of the community even before we ask them. I remember a time when someone out of the blue called to offer us an ice cream cooler. We were searching for one but had not made that need public yet. Besides choosing the food, we had to find the right slogan. I remember sitting at my desk that was covered with post-it notes bearing possible slogans. I was inspired by the New Testament and wanted to focus on Christ’s message to serve one another. In the end, it came down to two slogans. The first was Stay Awhile, but it was missing something. I decided on Brew Good, Do Good. It was simple yet catchy, a promise of good coffee, good service, and good deeds in the community.
From a hand sink in an empty office to a thriving café, I had the privilege to watch this place grow, and it all started with a prayer.