Why Mad Priest?
In the incredible novel The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantès was ready to give up and die in prison. Just then, the "Mad Priest" came on the scene and gave him a reason to hope again along with the practical skills he needed to win at life. So the Mad Priest is a fictional character that embodies the fight for justice, freedom, and opportunity. And as a company, we are striving to do just that. But instead of wrongly-accused fictional frenchmen, we champion real-life people displaced by war, disaster, and tragedy.
Why are there refugees? Where do they come from? What are they trying to get away from?
Most refugees are fleeing the political climate in their home countries, usually a political climate that has turned violent or oppressive. Refugees, then, can come from any country in which the political infrastructure has collapsed and has, therefore, created extremely dangerous living conditions. For example, currently thousands upon thousands of refugees are fleeing the civil war in Syria.
What challenges do refugees face in resettling in the USA?
There are a number of challenges refugees face, including the immediate challenges of gaining documentation so they can stay in the USA, to live, to work, and to build new lives. Other challenges include maintaining their cultural, ethnic, and/or national identities which may include customs which are very different than customs in the USA. Also, the current political climate inside the USA is one that includes fairly high anti-refugee sentiment, so refugees face discrimination and ignorance.

What makes a refugee different from an immigrant?

Sometimes the lines can be blurred, but speaking very broadly, an immigrant is typically one who, of his/her own volition, leaves his/her home country to take up residence in another country. The reasons for this are varied of course, but often immigrants arrive to live in other countries to seek better economic opportunities than those that might be found in their home countries.

A refugee, on the other hand, might be defined as a person who is not leaving his/her home country but fleeing it. The need is not to leave but to escape. Often this is due to the collapse of governments, violent political upheaval, and persecution, often on a massive scale. Typically, to be a refugee means a hasty departure, a desperate flight, all motivated by the need to preserve one’s and one’s family’s lives. In other words, to stay means to die. To leave means to live.  

What’s the path for refugees, from entry into the USA, to employment at Mad Priest, to stability in a new life in the USA?

An excellent question, and one in which the answer varies quite a bit. Variables include, but certainly aren’t limited to: which country they’re fleeing and why, are they coming into the USA as a single person or as part of a family, is there already a well-established population somewhere in the USA of people from the refugees’ countries of origin, and on and on.

Ideally, refugees who come to the USA would gain amnesty or legal status first, be referred to Mad Priest through channels already established within the refugee assistance community such as Bridge Refugee Services, and begin to assimilate into the country.

In addition to giving them jobs, what does Mad Priest do for refugees?

Mad Priest serves as an advocate for the refugees we employ and advocates for refugee and humanitarian causes in general. This may include any number of things, including: assisting them in gaining necessary skills for successfully establishing their new lives in the USA (like learning English), helping them navigate the process to become citizens of the USA, and explaining, to the best of Mad Priest’s ability, the difference between what the USA calls football and what the rest of the entire world calls football.

Where is Mad Priest Coffee available?

Mad Priest Coffee is available from our website, at our roastery (1900 Broad St. Chattanooga, TN 37408) and at cafes and around town, including The Camp House, The Meeting House, and Sacra.  First and foremost, we are a wholesale coffee supplier to cafes, restaurants, and businesses. So please contact your local independent coffee shop or your office and ask that they begin selling Mad Priest Coffee! We would also love to supply to churches around the country, so look for it as an alternative to the rot gut you might normally find at your place of worship. If you are interested in becoming a wholesale customer, we also offer private labeling for your company/church. Please contact info@madpriestcoffee.com for more information. 

How will refugees find out about Mad Priest? How will they get connected?

Mad Priest will primarily rely on our partnership with Bridge Refugee Services to get refugees connected with us who would be a good fit with our team. Also as you can imagine, word tends to travel quickly about helpful resources and organizations, so we might meet new people through word of mouth, too.

How do you "Craft excellent coffee"?

Hopefully it doesn’t sound cliche, but Mad Priest can craft excellent coffee because Mad Priest, first and foremost, really, really loves good coffee. Our excellence lies not only in the taste of the coffee but in the coffee process, bean to cup. Mad Priest highly values equitable economic treatment of all involved, from coffee farmer to customer.

How do you "Educate the curious"?

When it comes to coffee, Mad Priest is happy to sit down with you whenever you want and talk shop. Seriously. Be prepared for an earful. You’d better really want to know this stuff, because Mad Priest doesn’t answer the question, “So, how do you guys do this stuff?” with off-handed, throw-away answers. (And while you're at it, stop by our roastery and see how we do it firsthand!) 

Mad Priest is also passionate about educating its customers on the refugee crises the world over. We’re happy to connect you, the curious customer, with organizations (like Bridge Refugee Services, Coming to America, Welcoming America, and World Relief) who can give you more opportunities to make a difference for refugees, both locally and globally. 

What makes Mad Priest Coffee different?

Mad Priest understands that there is a lot of coffee out there. Some good. Some bad. Some middling. Now, Mad Priest tastes the best because of the attention to detail and care with which the beans are farmed, imported, roasted, brewed, and served to you the customer.

But, what really makes Mad Priest different? Well, this is coffee that is good for your soul, not just your taste buds. Buying and drinking Mad Priest Coffee makes you a participant in ending the growing refugee crises the world is now facing. Mad Priest is different because, simply, it makes activists out of consumers. Buy Mad Priest Coffee, change the world. You know?