By Morgan Daniels
When Scott Hord and his wife went to visit his adopted daughter in Zambia, Africa, he had no idea the experience would lead to opening a coffee shop on a college campus.
But after two weeks of living in the orphanage, and leaving his daughter Gracie in Africa during the adoption process, Hord’s heart became convicted.
“These children deal with malnutrition, educational needs, and simple medical needs that without medicine, they can die from,” Hord said. “I saw enough of those situations that I finally realized that the process was going to go beyond adoption—it had to be more.”
After returning to the American way of life, Hord, a pastor at Christ Church in Nashville, was afraid that the story of these orphans would be lost and never heard.
That was part of his inspiration to open Abba Java, a nonprofit coffee shop that will serve its first drinks on Trevecca’s campus on March 18.
“I really asked the Lord, ‘what do I do?’ He told me to create and gave me the idea of a coffee shop,” Hord said. “At the time, I really knew nothing about coffee.”
Hord prayed about his project and came up with the name “Abba Java—Coffee With a Cause.” Throughout the next year, Hord began to research and prepare for his project.
In 2009, nearly a year later, Hord went back to Africa to pick up Gracie. He spent one more month living with the children of the orphanage and upon returning to the states, began to roast his own coffee.
“Coffee became a vehicle for me to tell the story and to raise money for the kids back in Africa,” he said.
The concept of Abba Java is a non-profit organization that supports 67 orphans in Zambia, raising money for medical help, food and education. The program has been put into motion by mostly young people, such as high school students, and also online.
The program also supports a local program called TAP in Bordeaux, a suburb of Northern Nashville, where Hord and his wife adopted their son Jordan, so Abba Java can have a connection to both of Hord’s children.
The profits from the coffee shop will directly support the kids from the orphanage and the TAP program. But Hord said some money will be saved to hopefully expand the program and take the concept to other places in the Nashville area.
Hord said he chose Trevecca’s Center for Leadership, Calling and Service (CLCS) to be the home of Abba Java’s first coffeehouse location. He said the shop will be operated by students, and will receive marketing help from Trevecca business students.
“We want to show the students the world and what is happening with orphans and under privileged kids locally and internationally,” Hord said.
CLCS is currently under renovation, preparing for Abba Java. Peggy Carpenter, director of CLCS, said the building was originally designed with a vision of having a coffee shop, but no other company or concept has fit with CLCS’s vision.
Carpenter said that an on-campus coffee shop will be positive for Trevecca because with its availability, the coffee shop will provide more common areas for students on campus, and will provide a place for those non-traditional students to go when they are not in class.
Carpenter also said Abba Java will be marketed to places in the Nashville community, which will bring more name recognition to the university.
Because of several anonymous donations, Hord’s organization will pay all of the start up expenses. Trevecca’s only cost will be providing the facility, but Abba Java paid for the renovations in the building.
There has also been an overwhelming response from Trevecca students, Ronie McPeak, coodinator of career services for CLCS, said. She said that more than 30 job applications from students came in for the 10 positions at Abba Java.
“The mission behind his company totally fits with the mission of CLCS—and he really wants to work with Trevecca students,” McPeak said. “It was definitely a God thing.”
Abba Java Grand Opening: Coffee and Music
When: March 18, 2010
Featuring Trevecca brothers Parker and Jordan Guthrie and Jason O’toole of Belmont University