Delavan coffee shop helps local church program
DELAVAN — The River Church is combining the new and the old to serve the community and help those in need.
Java Joint on 8th is a multifaceted coffee shop and the church's most recent endeavor.
It opened in October and serves locally roasted coffee and fresh baked goods and soups while providing employment opportunities for women in the church's Take 2 ministry program.
Take 2, housed above the coffee shop, 337 S. Eighth St., is a one-year rehabilitation program for women who need a place to live while they gain work experience.
The money the coffee shop makes goes into keeping it open and supporting Take 2.
The program began in 2008 when it served men. In 2011, the church switched to serving women.
The ministry decided to focus on helping women after members of the church realized Walworth County had several shelters for men and not enough for women, said Cyndi Stolldorf, manager of Java Joint on 8th and church member.
Paul Gregory volunteers his time as director of Take 2 and helps at the coffee shop when he can.
For about four years, the church has been thinking of owning a business that can help sustain the rehabilitation program upstairs while providing a place of employment for its participants, Gregory said.
“Our idea is we want to try and give you a job,” Gregory said. “Some ladies don't have work experience at all, and just working in a coffee shop for a year gives you something you can put on your resume and can get you your next job.”
Three women can participate in the program at a time. They are not required to work at the coffee shop, but each is required to have a job that provides enough money to pay reduced rent. Participants also are required to attend church and have mentors.
One of the women works part time at the coffee shop. Since 2008, the program has helped about a dozen people get back on their feet and ready to live on their own, Stolldorf said.
The coffee shop not only helps women who are in need of work experience, but it also helps other church members.
Rachel Johnson is a baker and runs PURE Bakery out of the coffee shop's kitchen.
When she was growing up, her parents gave her free rein in the kitchen, and she fell in love with baking.
Before moving to the coffee shop, Johnson baked for Sunday mornings at the church and other church events. Since moving to the coffee shop, she has expanded her catering business and the number of gluten-free and all-natural items she makes.
She caters for various community meetings that take place at the coffee shop after normal business hours.
“We're trying to provide the best quality ingredients and getting creative with what you can eat that tastes good,” Johnson said. “I don't know of anyplace (in Delavan) that provides gluten-free anything.”
The coffee shop is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for regular business hours. From 6 to 10 p.m., it is open as a community resource center. It hosts rehabilitation meetings and committee meetings, and coming in December, it will have an open microphone night, Stolldorf said.