Social enterprise makes a difference in Saint John
"EVERY CUP goes further." That’s the slogan on the window at Catapult Coffee & Studio in Saint John, N.B., a social enterprise that provides work for those with employment barriers.
"Our mission with the men and women that we serve is to restore dignity, renew life, realize hope in Jesus," says Jayme Hall, executive director of Outflow, the registered charity that runs the café.
"The Lord loves all people," says Hall. "And He loves the hurting and those that are struggling, and we want to be able to practically reach out to folks and give them the opportunity to get their life back by way of employment."
The café opened in December 2018, the latest in a series of Outflow ministries – a men’s shelter, a construction firm likewise meant to furnish employment opportunities, a carpentry shop, a dental clinic. All except a farm property are in uptown Saint John – the coffee shop at 116 Princess Street is in a building owned by the Anglican diocese of Fredericton.
Outflow itself is an interdenominational ministry. Hall mentions Baptist, Pentecostal, Wesleyan, Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic and especially Vineyard support or involvement. He has been a Baptist pastor. The café also sells craft goods like candles and furniture made by Outflow’s employees.
The café’s six employees, including manager Miriam Westin, are a mix of those in need and those with the work experi ence to come alongside them, says Westin. The ministry teaches practical life habits alongside a spiritual message.
"We’re all beloved of God," says Westin. "And that’s one of the main things that we try to get across to people … whether they believe it about themselves or not, they are beloved of God. And that should impact how they treat themselves and [how] they treat others and [how] they expect to be treated."
The café and studio also support Outflow’s shelter – hence the slogan. The venture only broke even its first year, but Hall says that experience will help make the enterprise more profitable going forward. Westin hopes to grow the café’s relation ship with the community this second year, especially through public events.
"Everything we do is, or can be, part of the Kingdom of God, and sometimes I think we only see that in the overtly religious aspects of life or things that seem very social-justice focused, but even in our interactions with customers, and the things that we talk about and the events that we host at the shop, we can be beacons of God’s Kingdom in the city." –CALEB BURNEY