Sweet Home, Chicago.

I have a great friend, we'll call her R, who loves stories.  Last night, I told her my story and she told me hers over her latte and my cup of tea.  It was lots of fun.  I thought it might be fun to share a portion of my story with you as well.  I'll start with my love for Chicago!!!  Thanks R for the inspiration and for your love of stories.

My mom likes to say that from the time I started talking I would talk about growing up and moving to a big city.  I grew up in a very rural setting.  The closest town was 450 and we had to drive about 15 miles to the closest school.  I loved to picture myself living in a high-rise with a cat and working 80 hours a week at some big-time corporate job.  In Junior High, I read about Chicago and the University of Chicago and was determined to go there for college.  After a few senior year detours, I got into UChicago and managed to get enough financial aid to actually be able to go.  (Sidenote: My parents' yearly salaries are less than a year's tuition at UofC.)

Once I arrived in Chicago my love for the city blossomed.  I knew this was the city for me.  At the end of my 3rd year, I met Mr. Wonderful but he lived in the burbs.  Visiting him in the burbs just cemented my infatuation for Chicago.  It took me (and God) awhile to convince him to move to Chicago instead of me moving to the burbs but eventually, Mr. Wonderful decided the city was the place to be.  So, after I graduated from college, Mr. Wonderful and I got married and found a great apartment in Humbolt Park.

Since then, we've moved every year.  From Humbolt Park to Pilsen to Rogers Park and finally to the South Loop.  It's been great to see the city of different angles... but my adoration of the South Loop started back in college when I'd take the #6 or #4 bus from Hyde Park to downtown and see the transformation of the neighborhood.  I started dreaming then of living in the South Loop.  Now, my dream is a reality.

I see myself living in the South Loop for a long, long time.  I want to raise my children here (none of which have been born yet).  The South Loop has been called the best neighborhood in Chicago to retire in so we'll see if that happens as well.  I see awesome things happening in the South Loop's future - awesome things that impact the whole world.  I'm excited to be a (small) part of the South Loop's story.

P.S. I'm hoping this summer to move into a high-rise.  :)

The Stories Behind Our Coffees.

[Note: The following was in our Overflow Coffee Connections e-newsletter.  If you don't receive them, go to http://www.overflowcoffeebar.org/ and put your email address on our list.]

Every bag of coffee has a story behind it. The stories behind our coffees are ones we can all be proud of. You participate in these stories when you purchase our coffees.

This medium roast is grown by third-generation coffee farmer Diego Martin. Diego's father, Carlos, was an expert in coffee. Carlos and another of his sons were stopped one day on the road back to the farm, robbed, and then shot and killed. Soon after, our supplier was in Guatemala spending time with the family, bringing gifts for the children and watching them laugh and play even amidst such tragedy.

When you purchase the Guatemalan coffee, you join us in continuing to honor Carlos, Diego, and their families. The past two years, they have received $1.72 per pound of green (unroasted) coffee beans. This price is well above the Fair Trade premium of $1.26. Plus, the money is put directly into Diego's hands. This relationship goes beyond business and ensures excellence in their crop and your cup.

This light roast is grown on a fairly new farm, Rancho Ebenezer. Rancho Ebenezer was started in 2001 as a family-style home and school for orphans and disadvantaged children from Honduras' cities to start fresh. In Honduras, coffee represents a second chance at life and also a huge part of their country's culture. Rancho is also essential to the development of the surrounding area as it provides jobs for local workers. The quality of the beans has grown alongside the children; each crop is better than the last

When you purchase the Honduran coffee, you join us in providing a safe home for children and employment for Hondurans. On a deeper level, your purchase helps to break cycles of poverty and crime.

Decaf Tanzanian
This dark roast decaf is grown by 2,500 subsistence farmers who operate in a cooperative. The men and women who bring their crops to the co-op typically own 1-3 acres and care for 300-900 coffee trees. Some of the farmers are 20 years old, some are 80. A local school teacher said she loves the co-op, "Because my kids are coming back to school." Farmers are currently paid $2.20 per pound, enough that they can again afford school fees for their children. This premium also allows for increased access and pay for health care and additional support for local farm village markets and merchants.

When you purchase this Tanzanian coffee, you join us in changing this region in Tanzania. Already, other coffee buyers in the region are increasing their prices to compete with the fair and just prices of the co-op.

Espresso Blend
This balanced espresso blend is a combination of the Guatemalan and Honduran coffees. When you purchase espresso, you join with both.

You can purchase some Overflow coffee on our website.
Be sure to watch the video. Then, head to the "Shop" to purchase some coffee.

Stand Your Ground, Alter Your Course

Everyone faces difficulties - not getting hired for a job, even though you've gone through hundreds of interviews - not getting a gig, even though you've gone through hundreds of auditions - not getting enough startup funding even though you've asked hundred of people...

But you finally get the job, land a gig or get startup funding by NEVER BACKING DOWN and sometimes CHANGING YOUR APPROACH until you find what works.

THUS, WE'RE NOT BACKING DOWN but are CHANGING OUR APPROACH.  So far Brandon and I have been focused on "crowdfunding" (getting a huge amount of people to give lots of small gifts) and we've raised a small amount of money.  Now, we're going to be focused on larger amounts from fewer sources...

We've like to find people/groups who could give MICROLOANS OF $10,000 plus.  We'd pay an interest rate higher than a savings account but below commercial loan market rate. 

Do you know anyone who would be interested in seeing Overflow happen soon and could give a loan to make it happen?  Do you know anyone who works with a group (foundation, corporation, non-profit) who might be interested in pursuing how we could partner?  Please connect us with them!
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