Holy Joe's Cafe: 15 Years and Growing

Holy Joe's Cafe: 15 Years and Growing

While supply chain disruptions have impacted many during the pandemic, coffee is still flowing for military chaplains thanks to Holy Joe's Café. Holy Joe's is celebrating 15 years of bringing "a little bit of home to those who serve our country."
Holy Joe's Café began as a mission at the First Church of Wallingford (CT) in 2006, the brain child of Holy Joe's founder and director, Tom Jastermsky, a member of the church. Jastermsky had heard that U.S. military personnel in Iraq were short on coffee. One week later, the first shipment of coffee arrived at the base in Baghdad courtesy of Holy Joe's Cafe. But here is the real mission of the program: The coffee, distributed by military chaplains, offers these chaplains a way to begin relationships with soldiers that may not occur on their own, but are often necessary for the health and wellness of these personnel.

“Somebody shows up for a cup of coffee, and then that relationship begins to get established with the chaplain,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Tracy Hudgins, 706th Military Intelligence Group and NSA-Georgia chaplain in a recent new story about Holy Joe's for the U.S. Army. “It may be a cup of coffee today, but tomorrow they may open up about something going on in their life.”
Holy Joe's Coffee Reaches Antarctica

Holy Joe's Café has grown over the 15 years and now delivers coffee to chaplains and troops all over the world. A large part of the mission now is right here in the United States. Major Hudgins is a chaplain based at Fort Gordon in Georgia and serves personnel "deployed in place," — they serve on bases here in the states. rather than overseas The mission has also expanded beyond the original Middle East nations, reaching U.S military operations in over 60 countries, including an operation at the south pole. In fact, Holy Joe's has grown so much, the organization is now a 501(c)3 non-profit which functions independent of the Wallingford church. First Church continues to support the mission through special offerings and grants from its mission budget.
Like many nonprofits, the pandemic has had an impact on Holy Joe's, but Jastermsky says the organization was able to continue delivering coffee, hot cocoa, and tea to chaplains all over the world. This was in part due to several other UCC churches supporting the program (see below).
Churches and individuals who wish to support the program can donate here.
More Conference Stories About Holy Joe's Café:
Holy Joe's Cafe: A Coffee Ministry (2008)
Holy Joe's Thrives on New Donations (2011)
Holy Joe's Café: 10 Years and Still Serving Soldiers (2016)
More stories on the Holy Joe's Press page
SNEUCC Churches who have recently supported Holy Joe's Cafe:
First Congregational Church of Wallingford (CT)
First Congregational Church of Stratford (CT)
First Congregational Church of Canton (CT)
Roxbury Congregational Church (CT)
First Congregational Church of Litchfield (CT)
East Woodstock Congregational Church (CT)
United Congregational Church Torrington (CT)
Brookfield Congregational Church (CT)
Middlefield Federated Church (CT)
First Church of Christ, New Britain (CT)
Orange Congregational Church (CT)
First Congregational Church of Waterbury (CT)
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