PORTLAND, Ore. – Central City Coffee helps single parents get back on their feet and learn job skills, all with the help of coffee.
Every week a group of women meet at Nossa Familia in the Pearl District. The coffee company, in partnership with the non-profit Central City Concern, provides the space for the roasting and production.
Many of the women in the program are recovering from homelessness and addiction, and the program is turning their lives around.
“I have almost 21 months clean, I am a mom,” said Lisa Quinn.
Her story is similar to those of other women working at Central City Coffee.
“From the ordering to the production, and just delivering to stores, I love the coffee!” Quinn said.
Central City Coffee was brewed up about five years ago, through Central City Concern, the organization dedicated to ending homelessness.
Through Central City Coffee, single moms work full-time for six months. The goal is to learn new skills that transfer to a new job in the community.
Actually roasting coffee is a small part of the job description.
“The rest of the week, we are in the office or out in the community,” said Sarah Porter with Central City Concern. “We do a lot of different things.”
You’ll see the women at farmers markets and promoting their coffee at stores where you can buy it.
“We deliver to Whole Foods, New Seasons, Green Zebra, and lots of other specialty grocers in town,” said Porter.
They even come up with their own blends, including this year’s Holiday Blend, with an extra special connection. The beans come from a farm run by women in Guatemala.
“We have farmed by women, sold by women," Porter says.
As for Lisa Quinn, she’s ready to take on the world, for herself and her two sons.
“Addiction takes away everything from you. It takes all your self-worth, it makes you a completely different person. And this program has rebuilt that for me. It makes me feel like I’m a good person again. And that I’m worth something.”