We're Looking For: NONPROFITS!

We feature a different nonprofit each month and are putting together our line-up for 2013.  If you know of a local nonprofit we should support,  make a suggestion via this form.  If you work or volunteer for a nonprofit and would like to talk about partnership opportunities, use the same form.

We're always on the look out for nonprofits with which we can partner.  Please share a nonprofit you know of or at which you volunteer or work.  We only work with nonprofits who are active in the South Loop or nearby Chicago neighborhoods.
One of the South Loop nonprofit activities we support is the South Loop Food Pantry!

This Month @ Overflow!

Happy Holidays!  As you're preparing and celebrating, here's some events and reminders to keep in mind and plan for.  Click on the name of each item for more information.
  • Deals of the week - We're having a different deal each week for the rest of the year.  Look for it when you stop by for coffee, breakfast or lunch.  We've got a bunch of gift ideas ready for you and more to come! Check out our gift ideas here.
  • Holiday hours
    • Saturday, December 22 - 8am to 4pm
    • Sunday, December 23 - 8am to 4pm
    • Monday, December 24 - 7am to 3pm
    • Tuesday, December 25 through Tuesday, January 1 - CLOSED
    • Wednesday, January 2 - Reopen @ 7am and resume normal hours
  • Saturday, January 5 - Open Mic and More! @6pm (sign ups start at 5:30pm)
Also, in our building but sponsored by other groups are the following...
Other community events you might be interested in...

We're Looking For: DOCUMENTARIES!

We starting to schedule documentary screenings for 2013.  If you know a documentary you'd like us to show, please complete this suggestion form.

We show a documentary once per month (except December).  In 2012, they were on the 4th Thursdays but in 2013 we're going to try them on the 4th Tuesdays for the most part.  Watch for a posting of dates and the films we have listed so far sometime before December 31.

Films we've already screened include:
Black Gold
Call + Response
Father of Lights
Give a Damn?
Good Fortune
Live 58
The People's Crisis
The Price of Sugar
Very Young Girls

If you have a suggestion for a documentary we should screen, please share it with us by using the form link above.  Thanks for sharing!

We're looking for: ARTISTS!

We need some art to display on our walls in 2013.  If you're an interested artists, fill out the form here.

Here are some details you might want to know:
To express interest in showing your art on the walls at Overflow Coffee Bar for approximately 1 month, please complete the form  We'll get back to you to discuss details.

Here are the rules:

  1. Artists are given priority for scheduling in the order their forms are received.
  2. Artists must live, work or study in the South Loop or a nearby neighborhood within the City of Chicago.
  3. Artists may list their pieces for sale and keep 100% of the sales. Overflow does not take any overhead or fees.
  4. Artists must not have a permanent gallery space.
  5. We have lots of kids come through the coffee bar so all art is subject to approval by Overflow staff.
  6. Artists are encouraged but not required to have an opening reception soon after their art is hung.  The reception is a great opportunity for inviting friends and family to see the art!

Artist Phil poses with his art

2013 Membership Cards Now Available!

This plastic, wallet-sized 2013 Membership Card costs $50.00. It gets you 10% off everything you purchase from Overflow Coffee Bar - including food, drinks, beans, t-shirts, and more! It even works on fair trade items from Ten Thousand Villages.  The only thing it doesn't work on is catering orders since those are already discounted. The savings starts immediately when you purchase the card and ends December 31, 2013. Only a limited number are available. Get yours before they run out! 

If you spend $10 a week or more on average at Overflow, this card will pay for itself and then some over the course of the year.  $10 is the equivalent of a small coffee each day Monday through Friday or a sandwich and latte on the weekend.  It's also great for those who purchase coffee for brewing at home!

NEW!  Members get VIP seating at monthly documentary film screenings!  Check out upcoming screenings at http://overflowcoffeebar.eventbrite.com.

May Your Holidays Overflow!

Some things to keep in mind for the holidays:

  • Get a head start with Gift Cards! Put $10 on an Overflow gift card and get a free cup of coffee. Put $20 on one and get a free latte. For a limited time only. Ask for details when you come in. 
  • Black Friday Sale! We'll be open from 7am to 3pm on Friday, November 23 (the day after Thanksgiving) and all products from Ten Thousand Villages will be 10% off all day long. Add some fair trade to your holidays. 
  • Small Business Saturday Sale!  We'll be open our normal hours (8am to 6pm) and when you spend $25 and mention this blog post, we'll give you a free drink of your choice.  Shop local this holiday season.
  • We've got a bunch of gift ideas ready for you and more to come! Check out our gift ideas here.
Heard of Giving Tuesday??? Check it out.

Film Screening: Father of Lights

Thursday, November 29, 2012 @ 7pm
Suggested Donation: $7 (really a suggestion, give what you can)
If God could be filmed, what would He look like? In this explosive documentary, filmmaker Darren Wilson attempts to do the impossible: film God and understand His character. Along the way, Darren and his team encounter powerful witch doctors, violent gang leaders, Hindu holy men, and everyday people with extraordinary experiences to tell. 
Through filming incredible (and often historic) spiritual encounters around the world, Chicagoland resident Darren Wilson cuts through religious misconceptions in an effort to find the true nature and character of God.  This will be a great film for the beginning of the holiday season.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannakah, Kwanza, family and friends, or some combination of these things, this film is for you!
The film will begin at 7pm and is 98 minutes long.  We'll have some discussion after the film and be finished by 9pm.
Discussion will be led by Randy Fisk. After starting out with a career in scientific research, Randy has pastored with the Association of Vineyard Churches and taught at Valparaiso University. He has written two books The Presence, Power and Heart of God – Partnering in His Ministry  and  The Amazing Word of God. Randy has spoken, ministered, and taught in various settings, always with an emphasis of having the participants experience the ministry, not just hear about it. He stresses intimacy with God, the character of Jesus, and flowing with the Holy Spirit as God brings His Kingdom in our midst.  Randy and his wife, Mary, are part of the Aurora Vineyard and live in North Aurora, Illinois. They have three daughters, Holly, Becky, and Mandy, a son-in-law, Keith, and grandchildren, Judah and Rayah, all of whom are their delights.
Transit/Parking - While we encourage the use of public transit (Red Line, #29, #62 and other buses are close), limited parking is available in the rear of the building on a first come first served basis. Bring $3 for your spot. No one will be in the lot to take it. You can pay at the ticket check-in table.

This Month at Overflow!

There's not as much going on in November as in other months but still lots of drinking hot beverages and having a warm place to study or work.  Click on the name of each item for more information.
  • Saturday, November 3 - Open Mic and More! @6pm (sign ups start at 5:30pm)
  • Thursday, November 22 - Closed for Thanksgiving.
  • Friday, November 23 - Black Friday Sale - We'll be open from 7am to 3pm and all products from Ten Thousand Villages will be 10% off all day long.  Add some fair trade to your holidays.
  • Thursday, November 29 - Father of Lights Film Screening @ 7pm
  • Saturday, December 1 - Open Mic and More! Holiday Edition @6pm (sign ups start at 5:30pm)
Also, in our building but sponsored by other groups are the following...
Here are a couple community events you might be interested in...
  • Tuesday, November 6 - Vote!
  • Tuesday, November 20 - Public Meeting for Fred Anderson Park (hosted by Alderman Fioretti) at the 1st District Police Station @ 6pm.  The park will be located just south of 16th Street on Wabash.

Soups Are Here!

Our soups are 
  • fresh, never frozen, 
  • made-from-scratch using local ingredients, and
  • tasty!
We'll rotate through 7 different kinds.
  • Butternut Cream
  • Vegan Potato
  • Split Pea
  • Chicken Noodle
  • Corn Potato Chowder
  • Clam Chowder
  • Beef Barley
Stop by and try them out.

The People's Crisis Film Screening

October 25, 2012 @7pm
$7 suggested donation (supports North Korean refugee work and work to shift perceptions of North Korea).
The real crisis in North Korea is not about its reclusive leaders or its nuclear weapons. It is about 24 million people living under the most ruthless system of political oppression ever assembled by humankind. The North Korean people have suffered through crippling poverty, humanitarian disasters, chronic food shortages and a denial of even the most basic freedoms.
This documentary offers a comprehensive overview of the North Korean people's crisis, feature interview with North Korean refugees who have escaped, their journey to freedom, expert analysis, and insight into some of the grassroots changes happening inside the country. 
Check out the trailer here.
This screening is part of The Shift Tour.
Transit/Parking - While we encourage the use of public transit (Red Line, #29, #62 and other buses are close), limited parking is available in the rear of the building on a first come first served basis.  Bring $3 for your spot.  No one will be in the lot to take it.  You can pay at the ticket check-in table.

Kids Music and Story Time UPDATE

With the weather getting colder and the park visits getting shorter, we thought we'd remind you about our Saturday morning kids activity.  It's FREE!

Join us Saturday morning at 11am for Spanish Music and Story Time for kids ages 1 and up.  Lango Chicago will present 2-3 short stories from around the world.  The stories will be read and presented in Spanish with a focus on pictures and animated delivery to help convey the meaning.  We will finish up with a sing-along to get kids engaged and using some of the Spanish vocabulary they just learned.

The Kids Story and Music Time will continue every 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month. 

We thought you'd like to know a little bit more about our music and story time leader Megan Marshall.  We asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better.  Here's what she had to say...

What is your connection to the Spanish language? I grew in a monolingual family within what was very much a bilingual community.  It used to infuriate us, but my mother was constantly pushing my sisters and I to speak Spanish with our neighbors, friends' parents etc.  All three of us are completely bilingual, at least in part thanks to her.  

Why do you like to teach young kids foreign languages?  Again, based on my experience as a child who wouldn't necessarily have been expected to become bilingual (I am sure my mother thought she would likely fail at making that happen for us) I did, largely due to early exposure.  It's amazing what kids pick up and most of it is not immediately noticeable.  Learning language is not about memorizing a bunch of vocabulary words; vocabulary is obviously a necessary component but the sounds and rhythm of language and even the being able to conceptualize the fact that there are different "codes" for communication is really important and most easily absorbed early in life. 

What do you hope is accomplished through the Kids Story and Music Time at Overflow? I think that classes and structured learning time are important components to language learning but I think that the richer and more integrated the language environment is the more likely children are to really absorb and connect with the language.  They need to have favorite songs, books, and people in Spanish.  It's a drop in the bucket but something I would like to see more of.  I want more low-key, easy ways to expose children to other languages.  It's something I wish for, for my daughter all the time. 

What's your favorite coffee drink?
egg nog latte

Tell us something interesting you'd like us to know about yourself.
In addition to speaking fluent Spanish, I am pretty proficient in Mandarin Chinese.   I lived in Southern China for a while almost 10 years ago and I still dream about the spicy food. 

October's Featured Nonprofit: South Loop Food Pantry

In August, we launched our new fair trade store in partnership with Ten Thousand Villages.  Each month, we're giving 5% of the gross sales to a different nonprofit.  Because of September's sales, we are able to give $32.02 to Chicago Fair Trade.  That doesn't sound like a lot, but with the film screening proceeds going to them as well, they are receiving $65.57.  That bigger than we were able to do in August so let's see if we can keep the trend going and beat that amount this month.  Here's who will be receiving October's 5%...

The South Loop Food Pantry at South Loop Community Church is a member agent of the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  They launched this year and are already serving 40 plus families per week at their Saturday distributions.

I (Amanda) used to volunteer at another food pantry on the north side. While volunteering there I learned that the families who depend on food from the pantry are especially in need at Thanksgiving.  The week before Thanksgiving, there were lots of families who showed up at the pantry needing food.  Partially, they wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving just like the rest of us but also their kids were out of school and they were losing a day of work, etc.  Several factors made it very important to get some food to put on their tables.

During the season from Thanksgiving through New Year's, there are lots of people and organizations that help those living in poverty in our communities but not very many before Thanksgiving.  We were thinking about this and decided that we should use our giving in October to be ready to help in November.  Thus, the 5% we're giving to the South Loop Food Pantry will go toward distributing extra food on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

If you'd like to help more than with your purchases from our Ten Thousand Villages store, please visit the food pantry's website for information.  You can also drop off non-perishable food items the next time you stop by Overflow for your cup of coffee or croissant.

This Month at Overflow!

October continues an already busy fall.  Click on the name of each item for more information.
Also, in our building but sponsored by other groups are the following...
If you'd like to help make the neighborhood a better place to live, consider volunteering at Alderman Fioretti's Clean and Green on Saturday, October 20.  

Don't forget the Chicago Marathon is Sunday, October 7.  Go out and cheer on the runners!  We'll open early at 7:30am so you can fuel up.  :)

Adding Warmth to Our Space

The feedback we hear most often about Overflow's space is that it's not warm enough. It feels sparse and institutional instead of cozy and welcoming.  Over the past month, we've done a few things to help our space feel warmer.

  • We changed the blinds so that we can block out the sunlight when it gets in people's faces.
  • We added new lighting so that the art on our walls isn't in the dark.
  • We added new banquettes (fancy benches) so that the seating is more comfortable and the space has more color.

We're not done yet.  We still have a few things to do as money becomes available.  If you'd like to help us keep upgrading our space to be more welcoming, keep coming in and supporting us.  We're a neighborhood coffee shop so we want to be what the neighborhood wants.  Thanks for being great neighbors!

Before the banquettes were installed:

After the banquettes were installed:

Fair Trade 101

What Is Fair Trade?
Fair trade is a lot of things: a social justice movement, an alternative business model, a system of global commerce, a tool for international development, a faith-based activity.  Fair trade’s many definitions center
around the
exchange of
goods based
on principles of economic and social justice.

10 Principles of Fair Trade
1. Create Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers - Fair trade is trade that reduces poverty by supporting marginalized small producers.  Fair trade seeks to enable these producers to be economically self-sufficient.
2. Transparency and Accountability - Fair trade assures relevant information is provided to all trading partners through open communication at all levels of the supply chain. Fair trade finds appropriate, participatory ways to involve trading partners in decision-making.
3.  Fair Trading Practices - Fair trade is concerned for the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of producers and does not maximize profit at their expense.  Fair trade builds long-term relationships based on solidarity, trust and mutual respect.
4.  Payment of a Fair Price - Fair pay means provision of socially and locally acceptable remuneration.  A fair price is mutually agreed upon and provides fair pay to the producers and is sustainable by the market. Any fair trade pricing structures are used as a minimum.
5.  Ensuring no Child Labor or Forced Labor - Fair trade ensures that no forced labor is used in production and that United Nations’ guidelines and national and local laws are followed when children are employed.  Any involvement of children (including learning a traditional art) does not adversely affect the children's wellbeing, security, educational requirements or need for play.
6.  Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Freedom of Association - Fair trade does not discriminate in hiring, remuneration, accessto training, promotion, termination or retirement. Fair trade respects the right of all employees to form and join trade unions of their choice and to bargain collectively.
7.  Ensuring Good Working Conditions - Fair trade provides a safe and healthy working environment for employees and members. It complies, at a minimum, with national and local laws and ILO conventions.
8.  Providing Capacity Building - Fair trade seeks to increase positive developmental impacts for small, marginalized producers.  Those working directly with small producers develop specific activities to help these producers improve their management skills, production capabilities and access to markets.
9.  Promoting Fair Trade - Those connected with fair trade raise awareness of the aims of fair trade and of the need for greater justice in world trade.
10. Respect for the Environment - Those who create fair trade products maximize the use of raw materials and energy-saving technologies. Buyers and importers of fair trade products give priority to buying products made from raw materials that originate from sustainably managed sources and have the least overall impact on the environment.

How does Fair Trade Impact Me?
Fair Trade connects you with other cultures.  Fair Trade products are unique to the places they come from and the people who make them. Farmers and artisans are involved in the entire process, and Fair Trade products reflect the people and cultures they come from.  When you purchase a fair trade product you get an added bonus with the item - you get the pride that comes from knowing you made a real difference in a real person's life.

There’s an App for That
Learn how your favorite brands relate to fair trade by downloading the “Free2Work” app in your app store.  When you’re shopping, you can use the app to see a brand’s forced and child labor grade.

Adapted from Fair Trade Resource Network, (FTRN.org) and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO.org).

The Price of Sugar Film Screening & Discussion

September 27, 2012 @ 7pm

Suggested Donation: $7



About the Film 
In the Dominican Republic, a tropical island-nation, tourists flock to pristine beaches unaware that a few miles away, thousands of dispossessed Haitians have toiled under armed-guard on plantations harvesting sugarcane, much of which ends up in U.S. kitchens. They work grueling hours and frequently lack decent housing, clean water, electricity, education or healthcare. Narrated by Paul Newman, "The Price of Sugar" follows Father Christopher Hartley, a charismatic Spanish priest, as he organizes some of this hemisphere's poorest people to fight for their basic human rights. This film raises key questions about where the products we consume originate and at what human cost they are produced.

Discussion Afterward 
Representatives from Chicago Fair Trade will be here to lead the discussion after the film.

7:00 - Welcome and Introduction.
7:10 - Film begins.
8:40 - Film concludes. Bathroom and coffee break.
8:50 - Discussion facilitated by Chicago Fair Trade.

While we encourage the use of public transit (Red Line, #29, #62 and other buses are close), limited parking is available in the rear of the building on a first come first served basis.  Bring $3 for your spot.  No one will be in the lot to take it.  You can pay at the ticket check-in table.

Overflow in a national bank commercial

Earlier this summer, a production company rented our space to make a commercial for a national bank. Here's the end product.  See if you can spot us.

September's Featured Nonprofit: Chicago Fair Trade

Last month, we launched our new fair trade store in partnership with Ten Thousand Villages.  Each month, we're giving 5% of the gross sales to a different nonprofit.  Because of August's sales, we are able to give $44.99 to the Greater South Loop Association.  That doesn't sound like a lot, but it's a good start.  We can definitely see this going up from here.  Which brings us to announcing who will be receiving September's 5%...

Chicago Fair Trade was formed in June, 2006 with 24 organizations as founding members. CFT is a coalition of businesses, faith based organizations, non-profits, student groups at universities, and individuals. CFT has offices in Printer's Row and works throughout the metro area to increase support for fair trade through education, advocacy and targeted consumer compaigns. CFT currently has 70 member organizations. It holds 4 community-wide meetings a year and celebrates World Fair Trade Day in Daley Plaza with a festival.  Thanks to CFT's efforts, Chicago has been designated as a Fair Trade City as of May 2011.

Chicago Fair Trade is also facilitating the discussion at our monthly documentary screening on September 27.  Click here for more information.

For more information about Ten Thousand Villages at Overflow, please contact Amanda at amanda@overflowcoffeebar.org.  Ten Thousand Villages products will be available in our cafe on Saturdays from 8:00am to 6:00pm.  As sales increase, we'll add new hours.

This Month at Overflow!

There's a lot happening this month.  September seems to be the time to make things happen.  Click on the name of each item for more information.

Also, in our building but sponsored by other groups are the following...

See you at the Bash on Wabash!

Overflow will have a booth at this year's Bash on Wabash, a street festival in South Loop.  We'll be spreading awareness about our mission to change the world one cup at a time and selling products from our new fair trade artisan store, South Loop t-shirts, and coffee beans.  Here are the details for this year's Bash:

Saturday and Sunday
August 25 and 26
11:30am to 10:00pm
on Wabash Avenue between 13th Street and 14th Place

Benefiting the Greater South Loop Association, this lively festival mirrors the South Loop’s vibrancy, offering something for everyone.  The theme is Sweet Corn Chicago.  Fresh roasted corn and beer and wine will be available.  There will be a kids’ area and a Corn Bags Tournament throughout the weekend.  To top it off, revelers will enjoy a variety of live music, including some of Chicago’s hot local acts.

More info and a music lineup at http://greatersouthloop.org/bash/.

As a special thanks for being loyal fans, mention coupon code "Cash-At-The-Bash" and we'll give you $5 off any purchase of $12 or more.

Black Gold Film Screening & Discussion

August 30, 2012 at 7pm
Suggested Donation: $3

About the Film
Multinational coffee companies rule shopping malls and supermarkets, and dominate the $80-billion-plus coffee industry. But, while Americans continue to pay for luxury lattes and cappuccinos, the prices paid to coffee farmers remain so low that many have been forced to abandon their fields. Black Gold tells the complex story behind an attempt to make globalization work for the producers of the second most valuable traded commodity for developing countries in the world.

Nowhere is the disparity of the coffee industry more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Tadesse Meskela manages the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, representing more than 74,000 coffee farmers. The union buys coffee from 101 individual cooperatives, spread across southern Ethiopia. Black Gold follows Meskela on his mission to save struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. As his union’s farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality coffee beans on the international market, Meskela travels the world to find buyers willing to pay a fair price — a better price than the one set by the international commodities exchange.

Against the backdrop of Meskela's journey to London and Seattle, the film reveals the enormous power of the multinational players that dominate the world's coffee trade. Since the International Coffee Agreement — which regulated the supply of coffee on the world market — collapsed in 1989, the price paid to coffee farmers has fallen to a 30-year low. But in the same time period, retail sales from coffee have increased from $30 billion to $80 billion a year. Today, four multinational corporations dominate the global coffee market: Kraft, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble, and Sara Lee.

Black Gold exposes how New York City commodity traders, the international coffee exchanges, and the double dealings of trade ministers at the World Trade Organization all challenge Meskela in his quest for a long-term solution to pay coffee farmers a living wage.

Discussion Afterward
Tim Taylor, our coffee roaster, will be on hand to lead discussion and share more information about the coffee industry and how it's changed since this film premiered in 2007.

7:00 - Pre-screening Networking.  Bring business cards and get to know the other people who'll be watching the film.
7:30 - Welcome and Introduction.
7:40 - Film begins.
9:10 - Film concludes. Bathroom and coffee break.
9:20 - Discussion facilitated by Tim Taylor.

Transit/Parking While we encourage the use of public transit (Red Line, #29, #62 and other buses are close), limited parking is available in the rear of the building on a first come, first served basis.  Bring $3 for your spot.  No one will be in the lot to take it.  You can pay at the ticket check-in table.

Daystar Center Now Enrolling

Enrollment is now open for fall community classes at 1550 S. State! 

The Center is adding some exciting new classes and continuing some old favorites.  Click here for a complete schedule. New classes begin September 4, 2012.  Some classes have already begun and you can jump in anytime.

Tip: When you highlight the Classes tab on the Center's website, you'll see an option for demos.  Use this option to try a class for FREE before deciding whether to sign up

The Daystar Center is in the same building as Overflow.  They provide opportunities for educational growth and cultural engagement to adults and children.  They are a nonprofit organization.  If you need space for an event or gathering, they also rent their spaces.

We're Expanding Our Mission and Our Impact

Overflow's mission is to give South Loop residents, students and workers the opportunity to change the world.  We now have a new way for YOU to change the world one artisan-crafted item at a time!  
Overflow Coffee Bar is now a retailer of products from Ten Thousand Villages.  Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer of artisan-crafted gifts, home decor, jewelry, personal accessories, textiles, art & sculpture from across the globe. Featuring products from more than 130 artisan groups in some 38 countries, we are part of a network of more than 390 retail outlets throughout the United States selling Ten Thousand Villages products. For more than 60 years, Ten Thousand Villages has been establishing long-term buying relationships in places where skilled artisans lack opportunities for stable income. All artisans are fairly paid for their products.

For more information about Ten Thousand Villages at Overflow, please contact Amanda at amanda@overflowcoffeebar.org.  Ten Thousand Villages products will be available on Saturdays from 8:00am to 6:00pm.  As sales increase, we'll add new hours.
For the month of August, we're donating 5% of all gross sales from these new products to the Greater South Loop Association to help make the Bash on Wabash a success.  We'll also have Ten Thousand Village products available at the Bash on Wabash, August 25 and 26.
The South Loop now has a place for you to find interesting gifts or unique items for yourself at a convenient location.  Support local business, make global impact.
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