How a Coffee Shop is Bringing Safe Water to those in Need
The Well Coffeehouse exists with a dual mission in mind: a vision that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Lenda describes as “100% this and 100% that.”
That is, provide clean water to those in need and pour great coffee.
“The Well” has five locations, four in Nashville, Tennessee and one in Fishers, Indiana.
When Mike joined The Well in November of 2018, he’d worked at Starbucks, Blood:Water Mission, and Compassion International, a combination of careers that prepared him uniquely to manage a nonprofit coffee shop.
Mike carried two essential truths into his role at The Well. First, God is already at work in the communities they serve. Second, safe water is just part of the equation.
“I truly am thankful for sitting under great community development leaders that have helped me determine the impact and legacy we want to make as The Well,” Mike said. “We don’t want it to be about us, but about what the local communities are already doing and already needing.”
The Well seeks to partner with organizations who are building relationships with communities, establishing long-term water access solutions, and sharing life-saving sanitation and hygiene practices. The Well began partnering with Lifewater last year.
“At Lifewater, it’s not about the output; it’s about the outcome,” Mike said. “It’s not just about another well in the ground or number of people served, but about real transformation.”
Mike was referencing the sustainability of Lifewater projects. Water sources are custom designed to meet the needs of the community, and the community invests in their own project. Mike also shared that creating this long-term transformation means supporting the structures and people that make it possible.
“Development takes a long time,” he added. “I have learned that buying mopeds equals water, and a desk equals water; it’s those staff members who are going to be making that long-term impact.”
Sustainable development is close to Mike’s heart and to the heart of all who work at The Well Coffeehouse, as is sourcing their coffee from the countries they serve.
“It makes sense to give back to those who are giving us their best,” he said.
“It’s not just about another well in the ground or number of people served, but about real transformation.” – Mike Lenda, CEO at The Well Coffeehouse
Last year, The Well provided safe water in 12 communities across the globe, serving an estimated 7,000 people with lasting, safe water. Even as the global pandemic closed their doors, the donations they set aside for safe water remained untouched.
“God has provided donors who have come to us and purchased our coffee or paid our rents because they believe in the impact we’re making and the coffee we’re serving,” he said.
Mike’s wife of 19 years, Rachel, and their five children have become The Well’s top employees since the closures. They’ve mopped floors, baked bread, and kept him laughing.
As The Well opens again, they look forward to the many customers they will welcome back through their doors and the many people they will reach with life-saving safe water.
Visit www.wellcoffeehouse.com to learn more and support their mission.