Multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning band Jars of Clay has joined forces with 963 Missions in a new initiative to provide clean water and HIV/AIDS-free blood in Africa through the sales of fair trade organic coffee.
The "963 Coffee Project" will invite Jars of Clay fans and other supporters to buy coffee from farmers in poverty-stricken communities whose funds will be used toward building clean water wells in Africa. Youth groups and individuals are also encouraged to use the coffee to raise donations for their own mission projects and relief initiatives.
"As a coffee lover, I understand that a cup of coffee is only as good as the water you brew it with," said Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine. "And as an advocate for bringing clean water to people who desperately need it for survival, there is a natural connection between water and coffee.
"I am excited to work alongside 963 Coffee to help everyone put an end to poverty one cup at a time," Haseltine said.
963 is officially partnered with Blood:Water Mission – the development organization founded by Jars of Clay. Blood:Water Mission promotes clean blood and water by helping to build clean water wells, supporting medical facilities and aiding in the fight against poverty, injustice and oppression in Africa.
The two groups have worked together in the past when 963 helped connect people interested in serving in Africa with Blood:Water.
"Then the opportunity came for us to work with them ( Blood:Water) and Jars of Clay to use coffee – the essential beverage in the U.S. – to provide clean water – the essential beverage in Africa," said Steven Bailey, the 963 director. "It just seemed like a perfect match."
Coffee is the second most-traded commodity in the world, with over 500 billion cups consumed each year or the equivalent of about a third of the annual tap water consumption, according to 963 Missions.
Yet sadly, unclean water is the biggest killer in the world. In Africa, an estimated 256 million people do not have access to a cup of clean water. The mission group points out that just $1 will provide clean water for a person in Africa for a year.
In addition to coffee, the 963 Coffee Project also sells coffee tumblers and T-Shirts whose proceeds will go towards missions.
The mission group 963 was formed in 2002 with the goal of "anything missions" – helping with anything from connecting people to mission trips, to providing affordable travel, and now fundraising. The group's vision is based on Psalm 96:3 "Tell of His glory among the nations…"