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Coffee With A Cause

April 29, 2006, 1:39 PM by Jon Wilson

Coffee With A Cause
We all know how popular coffee houses have become these days. But there's a new coffee company where the name of the product is almost as unique as where it comes from. 

Jumpy Monkey coffee is showing up on more store shelves across KELOLAND. It's locally roasted and comes in 35 different flavors and blends. While the name may be a little unusual, the journey from roaster to grocery store is much more interesting. 

The roasting process begins here in Sioux City, Iowa. Opportunities Unlimited acquired the the Jumpy Monkey brand from a private benefactor about three years ago. Pam Danke is the director of Vocational Services at Opportunities Unlimited. "They're sole purpose of buying it was to provide people with disabilities meaningful and purposeful employment." 

The Jumpy Monkey brand now employs about 30 disabled residents at Opportunities Unlimited who are involved in every step of the process. Danke says, "Everything from packaging the coffee and taking it to the stores and also doing coffee demonstrations in the actual grocery store." 



When Opportunities acquired the brand two years ago, the primary roaster and all the flavor recipes came with it. Now she's training others how to roast as the orders keep pouring in. Danke says, "When we first started we were doing probably around 100 to 200 pounds a week. We're currently up to 300-400 pounds a week that we produce and ship out." 

The beans make one last stop before hitting store shelves. They end up here at Village Northwest in Sheldon, Iowa, where the individual orders are filled. The beans are weighed, packaged and shipped out. But more importantly this second stop is putting more people to work. 

The Jumpy Monkey Coffee Company may be coffee with a cause but the mission here at the Village is much more complex. Ted Ornas, with Village Northwest Unlimited says "it's very broad but to put it in a nutshell our purpose is to provide purpose, privacy and dignity to all people." 

The Village in Sheldon serves about 200 people and most live on the Village Campus. Many work in-house, doing everything from building pallets to stuffing inserts in newspapers and recycling aluminum. It's not the job but the opportunity that gives these residents a sense of purpose. 

Leah Dykshorn is a resident at the Village. "I do papers" About 25-30 Village residents also go out to work in and around Sheldon, including 37-year-old Leah Dykshorn. Leah says, "Carrying a lot of groceries." 

Ted Ornas says, "Her goal and her mission as far as a job was to work at Hy-Vee. Hy Vee gave her a tryout, I think they gave her a couple days and did very well, in fact she's now one of their top baggers." 

And as more of these bags fly off the shelves...the money helps keep the Village... and it's mission alive and well. Ornas says becoming more self-sufficient is not only a goal but a necessity these days. Ted says, "Now days in social services of almost any kind you have to be creative. Certain funding sources have dried up." Which is why the coffee is just one of several business ventures for the Village. Across the street you'll find greenhouses full of tomatoes the village sells every year. The Village also operates a gift shop which includes an ice cream parlor in the back. 

Ornas says, "And you really have to be creative and that's one thing we really try to do is be progressive and be self-sustaining." 

More opportunities for their residents and more money to support the cause. 

So the next time you're cruising the coffee isle and come across the Jumpy Monkey Brand, you'll know it's not only good for the taste buds but good for the community too. You can find Jumpy Monkey coffee at the Sunshine Foods on 10th and Kiwanis and on East 10th street in Sioux Falls. 

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