Coffee with a purpose: Partnership developed to provide medical supplies for children in El Salvador

Two students are selling coffee to improve the lives of children living with HIV, AIDS or cancer through a partnership with One Life One Mission Coffee. The group works with “Esperanza Y Vida,” a Spanish phrase meaning “hope and life,” to aid children in El Salvador.

“Our goal of the company is to expand globally and keep showing the love of Christ by doing that with different types of coffee and tea,” Chad Mallory, high school senior attending Malone through post-secondary enrollment option, said. 

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Two students are selling coffee to improve the lives of children living with HIV, AIDS, and Cancer (photo by Kelsey Garrett).

“If we put the work in it and keep God at the center of it I can’t see this business failing,” said Mallory.

One Life One Mission Coffee orders one shipment, 266 bags, of coffee from El Salvador at a time. $400 from the order goes directly to Esperanza Y Vida upon purchase. Additional funds are donated after the purchase of coffee from consumers.

A portion of the funds from previous shipments have provided medicine, food and diapers.

Many of the recipients of aid have already spent hours walking back and forth between home and the hospital each day. Time spent in that process means time not spent earning money, so money for food may not be available.

Douglas Ruballos manages Esperanza Y Vida from Jayaque, La Libertad, El Salvador and serves as Mallory’s contact in the nation. Ruballos speaks Spanish, so that would seem to be a barrier for the ministry. However, Mallory’s fluency in the language creates space for an easy relationship without the need of a translator.

Mallory said Douglas speaks directly to suppliers, ensures proper manufacture and packaging of the coffee and secures shipment on the proper plane for the One Life team.

Mallory and the One Life team have already placed two orders to El Salvador since starting work in August, but they are working on expansion. Partnerships with Cornerstone Church and Cultured Coffee are growing the for-profit business, and Malone is the next target.

“Our next project is getting into Malone,” Mallory said. “Hopefully within the next month or two you will see [One Life One Mission Coffee] in the cafés.”

Enactus provides volunteers to support the endeavor on campus. Liza Kirk, junior business administration major, helps coordinate the effort to reach Malone.

Kirk said she hopes other students jump on board to help spread the product, especially students with connections to various cafés.

“We are totally open to suggestions from people. We’re looking for someone to help,” Kirk said.

One Life coffee is a light roast coffee and has a hint of chocolate in it. It is not organic, but it is shade grown, so it is more expensive and considered a gourmet coffee.

“Since [Jayaque] is so low, [the coffee] is really smooth with less bitterness, which is kind of rare,” Kirk said.

Kirk recognizes the price tag of the gourmet coffee may be intimidating, but the taste and purpose are worth the extra dollars.

“We realize that we are all poor college students, so we understand the $9.99 retail price is kind of hefty for a college budget,” Kirk said.

Even so, the organization is striving to bring down the cost through alternative purchasing methods.

“We are trying to figure out ways to make serving by a cup possible and available for students,” Kirk said.
Cathy Weyand is a staff writer for the Aviso

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