Have you ever thought to yourself “This neighborhood (block, city, state, nation, world – you name it) would be a much better place if only someone did XYZ?” Well, have you ever thought what would happen if that “someone” was you? I had the pleasure of meeting someone who asked these very questions.
A few years ago, Kitti Murray and her husband moved to Clarkston, Ga., a neighborhood outside Atlanta that has been called the most diverse square mile in the world by CNN. Once there, they realized the diverse community of refugees who have been placed there over the last few decades was extremely segmented. Restaurants catered specifically to certain nationalities. Grocery stores did the same. And no coffee shop really existed. That’s when she decided someone should open a unified coffee shop.
The shop would be a place for people of all nationalities to come and get a great cup of coffee to start their day. It would be a hub for friends and strangers alike to come and engage in conversation and begin breaking down walls. Her idea wasn’t something she thought she would lead but rather something for someone else to start and run. She discovered over the next year as she spoke to more and more people that she was in fact the perfect “someone.” She didn’t have a business background but she had a passion and support.
She started Refuge Coffee Company, a mobile coffee shop aimed at creating a community where all would feel welcomed, loved and empowered. The coffee truck sits weekly at the corner of Clarkston’s downtown and frequently caters weddings and events around Atlanta. Refuge employs and offers job training for refugees. It has become a staple in the area and Kitti is often thanked for the impact she has made for their families and loved ones because she stepped into the role of “someone.”
Upon meeting Kitti it is extremely easy to tell why so many love and appreciate her. She is a bubbly person with an enormous heart that you can tell only wants to do good for those around her. She was constantly serving others from the moment I met her. I was introduced to at least a half dozen people who were all there supporting her dream that has become a reality (and this was at 10 a.m. when most people were at work).
What’s even more amazing is that she had the courage to realize she was the change that needed to happen. One woman has started to change an entire community for the better. Yes, she has sacrificed along the way, but I seriously doubt she would consider anything she’s given up a sacrifice in comparison to the joys and benefits the Refuge Coffee Company has created.
Learn more about the work Kitti and the Refuge Coffee Co. are doing at refugecoffeeco.com