The Sky In Our Mouth

“A poem? I don’t know much about that. But I know one, and it is hot like fresh bread. When you eat it, a little is always left over.” This answer is offered by Mrs. Round, the baker in Jean-Pierre Simeon’s This Is A Poem That Heals Fish, a book about a young boy asking neighbors the definition of poetry in genuine puzzlement.

The Roosevelt hits its two-year anniversary this month, and while we don’t want to romanticize our work, we see the Roosevelt’s vision as a form of poetry that aligns with Mrs. Round’s explanation. We want whoever engages with our mission of giving good to see its value, and know there’s always more to give.

If you’re just tuning into the conversation that we started when we opened two years ago, our purpose is to eradicate human trafficking, hunger, and a lack of access to clean water through working with partners like Exile International, Blood:Water Mission, and Food for the Hungry—all through coffee.

In these two years, we’ve donated over $50,000 to partners committed to our causes. In 2016, we expanded our impact by about $13,000 more than our first year, which resulted in some of the following contributions:

  • 12 mini greenhouses in Peru
  • Almost 12,000 Faith Mission of Ohio meals
  • The purchase of a complete farm of animals, including 18 chickens, 6 goats, 4 pigs, 2 rabbits, 2 sheep
  • 2 latrines, 9 biosand filters, and a water pump system in Africa
  • Four-day WASH program funding through Blood:Water Mission
  • 11 medical packages for human trafficking victims
  • One month of Uganda safe house expenses, as well as one month of groceries, for sexually exploited minors
  • 15 hours of child-with-trauma-focused therapy
  • A portion of funding for a human trafficking rescue mission
  • Art therapy and physical therapy supplies for victims of human trafficking
  • Funding to fight cyber sex trafficking

We feel gratitude for your involvement in these contributions. To help make a point, consider what Household, a Minneapolis band, told New Noise Magazine in an interview about the making of their second album: “The new album comes from a year and a half of touring, meeting people, and having shows in our basements,” vocalist Josh Gilbert said. “I would say a good portion of the album is written in tribute to that first year . . . It’s a thank you to that year of learning, being accepted as a younger band, and being able to grow.”

This statement from Household illustrates a similar lesson in gratitude we’ve learned over the course of the last two years—it’s all because of you. This is a lesson that we tried to articulate a year ago in a blog post titled “Thank You, Columbus.” So on the anniversary of our second year, we’ll say again what we wrote a year ago in that post:

“This is made possible only by our community.”

We echo our thank you even louder after another year of business. Another year of serving coffee to wonderful people. Another year of taking part in the dialogue about goodness in our shop and around the fringe of our circle of influence. Another year of rejoicing in the partner success stories of people you’ve helped with coffee purchases and financial donations.

One of the greatest things we’ve received in this whole thing is the stories and support of our customers. We’re inspired by so many of them. Some of these stories we’ve picked up from you are reflected in our company values we newly defined last month, such as love, justice, humility, optimism. We’ve grown as people.

“A poem . . . is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.” This answer in Simeon’s book, This Is A Poem That Heals Fish, comes from Lolo, who’s singing as he repairs a tire in his bicycle shop as the young boy approaches him.

The Roosevelt has found an ethic of love in the work we do—for those we aid, for our product, for our community, from our customers—and we feel like we have the sky in our mouths.

Now is no time to stop speaking.
Come hang out on April 22 for the Roosevelt’s 2nd Grand Opening Anniversary Party! All the sweet deets are here: