Our first location at Sather AFB, Baghdad, Iraq. This photo was taken in September 2006.
It all started when...
The First Congregational Church in Wallingford, Connecticut, received word that there was a need for coffee at the Sather Air Force Base in Iraq where one of their church members was deployed. At the time, Air Force Chaplain Timothy Sturgill was paying out of his own pocket to provide coffee 24/7 to all military personnel on the base, plus all the service members arriving into Iraq. Once word of Chaplain Sturgill’s efforts reached us back in Wallingford, we jumped into action – creating the foundation for Holy Joe’s Café.
The responses have been enormous – from churches and other civic organizations, coffee companies and transportation and logistics carriers. Carol Wallace, CEO of Cooper-Atkins in Middlefield, CT, and her staff committed to help with shipping from the beginning – and have been a vital part of our operations ever since. Other companies have donated free coffee, coffee making supplies, tea, mugs and even girl scout cookies.
In the last eleven years, Holy Joe’s Café has grown immensely. We currently ship coffee and supplies to hundreds of military locations including small Forward Operating Bases, hangar bays, hospitals, aid stations and any other setting where we’re needed. Today, thousands of free cups of coffee are served to our troops in 70 countries throughout the world.
Holy Joe’s Café has become a dynamic part of military Chaplains 24/7/365 service to the troops, which also includes: helping soldiers with family emergencies, care for wounded soldiers, conducting memorial services for the fallen, and counseling survivors when a soldier is killed in battle. Soldiers are allowed complete confidentiality to express themselves to the Chaplains.
All service personnel are welcome, including NATO troops from other countries that share the same base as well as people of all religious faiths and backgrounds. We want to promote a place for relaxation, focusing on great coffee and conversation. It is vital for our troops to have a place to unwind and share a taste of home.
“Holy Joe’s Café is a place where chaplains in makeshift chapels are able to bring a taste of home to the tired, the anxious, the angry, the lonely and the wounded,” says Chaplain A.S. “They all can get a gourmet coffee, a reminder that the world they willingly left behind still cares.”
There are no days off for Holy Joe’s Café. Your help and support is truly appreciated.
Holy Joe's Cafe Inc. is a certified CT Charity with Federal 501(c)(3) status pending.